Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ask The Expert

How to remove a tick.

The easiest way used to be stop winding it. Then if you waited long enough, it quit on its own and fell off. You didn't even have to touch it. You just listened, and when the ticking sound stopped, you were good to go.

But that all changed with miniature electronics. Discover a tick under your waistband now and it's got a five-year lithium battery planted in its butt.

It could keep going for years. You never know. (Suck-suck.)

No telling what might happen, and every time you take your undos off, there it is, looking up at you, looking you right in the eye. "What's it to you, buster?" says the little voice. How can you answer that?

You can't do a damn thing until the voltage drops and the critter falls off due to electron starvation.

Used to be, back in the organic, analog days, someone would tell you to slather axle grease on it, but that only made the tick slippery, and killed it besides. Then you had a dead tick stuck on your backside. Dead ticks regurgitate, pumping those juices (blood, saliva, germs, viruses, unnamed cooties) back into you. Not so good.

Used to be, someone else would tell you to hold a lit cigarette near its behind, but that killed it too, by roasting. Followed by the same kind of sludge pumping.

Try any of those tactics on a 2014-model digital droid tick and it's likely to laser you. (Those eyes aren't just for looking, you know. And ticks are crazy buggers, capable of anything. They have attitude.)

Want to get relief, get technical without being too fancy. Think mechanical. Try a set of pointy-fine forceps. (Forceps are tweezers with a graduate degree). Get the narrow working end between your skin and the tick's shoulders, and lift the critter straight away from anything that is you. Carefully. Slowly. Slowly and carefully.

If you're low-tech, use the tip of a pen-knife. Push down on your skin upstream of the tick's head, and move the blade (held at a 90° angle to your skin, sharpened edge down) toward the tick. Do a slow scrape.

Bulldoze the tick like you're squeezing a pimple from one side only. It's a kind of Zen practiced against the eight-legged.

Either way, the tick comes out alive and whole. Then you can hit it with the flamethrower. (Don't listen to anything the tick says either — it's all lies.)

Good stuff to read:

How To Remove A Tick — And Why A Hot Match Won't Work

Ticks

Tick Identification Submission Form (PDF)

Anaplasmosis

Babesiosis

Lyme Disease

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)

Rodents

Search for a Repellent that is Right for You

Tick-borne Relapsing Fever

Tick Paralysis

Tularemia

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