Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bug Dope

DEET. Use it.

I can't spell Ehrlichiosis (thanks, Google), much less pronounce it, but is sounds like something best avoided. Chills. Fever. Headache. Muscle Aches. Nausea.

A buddy of mine is an educator with most of the summer free for pursuing outdoor activities. She shares reports of her hikes and fishing via Facebook. Occasionally she'll taunt me directly with photos from the water. I'm spending most of my summer tapping on the keyboard and muttering into a phone. Of course, I got the last laugh when all her outdoorswomanship landed her a nice case of the aforementioned disease. One doesn't land in the hospital while manning the phones.*

She also reported that she had eschewed any sort of bug repellent whilst on recent outdoor adventures. It wasn't because she's reckless but rather that a household member had made off with the can of DEET laden bug spray and hadn't replaced it. I suspect she'll be buying another when she gets back on her feet.

There are a whole host** of diseases that one can get from ticks and according to the CDC the incidence of many of these diseases is on the rise***; great news for those of use who spend time outdoors. 
Fun & Exciting Tick Borne Diseases 
Lyme disease
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Southern tick-associated rash illness
Tick-borne relapsing fever
In order to keep one's self at a lower risk of getting one of these diseases the CDC recommends the following when you're out in tick habitat:
  • Products with permethrin kill ticks. Use them.
  • Use a repellent with DEET on skin (at least 20% concentration)****
  • After being outdoors, check clothing for ticks, shower within two hours of getting home, and check your body for ticks.*****
I've had Lyme Disease and I don't recommend it. What I do recommend is plenty of DEET, inspections and a nice shower after a day outdoors.

Check out the CDC's Stop Ticks website.

UPDATE: I was out in the woods this evening. After I finished writing the above article I took my own advice and took a shower and found a tick buried in my ankle. It had only been burrowed in for an hour or so and it was easily removed with a gentle tug. 

* Of course, one must avoid heart disease and the myriad other corporate diseases.
** Host. Get it. Tick's are a parasite. We're the host.....oh forget, it.
*** I also suspect we're just getting better at reporting them, but that's just a guess.
**** Remember that DEET, along with sunscreen, isn't good for modern fly lines. Wash your hands (or at least wipe them on your waders) before touching fly lines.
***** Easier to do in the shower. I suppose having someone join would aid in the inspection.


  1. Excellent advice. Thanks Steve.

  2. Yeah, there's pretty much no season that is out of season for ticks here in the Northeast. Even on warm spells during the winter you can get them on you.