When I was growing up- I didn’t even know what a tick was.
I ran barefoot in the grass.
I ran through tall grass and played in ditches.
I was outdoors all the time and my only outdoor related whoopsie was ending up with Poison Ivy on my hands after running to fetch a baseball out of the ditch.
These nasty little bugs were never on my radar until just a few years ago.
Now it feels like it is bloody Tick-Mageddon out there and no one is safe!
“Never mind the Zombie Apocalypse…Who cares about alien invasions? These little bug soldiers are mobilizing…” ~ My imagination likes to run wild.
One of my Superpowers is that bugs don’t like me.
They don’t like me so much that I am one of those rare people who mosquitoes prefer to avoid. That’s right- Mosquitoes don’t bite me – a phenomenon that we realized in my teenage years (When I was younger- I was feasted on by black flies and mosquitoes- it stopped at some point after I went to high school) My husband didn’t believe this at first, until one night as we sat outside with friends in a backyard- the mosquitoes came out in full force…
The little blood-sucking monsters attacked him- but he saw for himself…
They will annoy the crap out of me.
They will land on me.
They will walk on my arm… but then they will fly off in search of another victim.
(What can I say? They either sense my evil or I have already unlocked the next stage of human evolution…)
All this said, our two children are not as lucky as me, and like their dad have ‘Unlimited Blood Buffet’ signs flashing on them that only mosquitoes can see.
My girls are also allergic to bug bites… and we have had instances where my daughters have been bitten on their foreheads by mosquitoes only to have their eyes swell shut or end up with monster goose-eggs. My youngest had one on her wrist once that swelled up her arm to her elbow.
(That was a fun one…)
I always keep Benadryl handy for these situations.
We take bug protection seriously in this house- though we need to be careful (Because while they’re allergic to bug bites…this mom is allergic to bug sprays!)
She was bit by a what-now..?
In 2016- my youngest daughter got off the school bus covered in six new bug bites. They had feasted on her while she had been at school.
Those bites were big, they were ugly and painful- so after inspecting them and washing them all, I had to give her Benadryl to help relieve the swelling and itching.
The next day she woke up and the bites were still rather swollen and itchy and causing her discomfort, so I dosed her again with allergy medication before sending her off to school.
When she arrived home from school that day, she got off the bus and I could see a rash poking out from her collarbone, so I checked her out.
Sure enough, the two bites on her collarbone were now huge bulls-eye rashes.
Not just one bulls-eye rash…TWO of them!
I quickly inspected the other bites and the other mosquito bites had finally gone down…but not the two.
I looked at the bites carefully again- but I didn’t see any ticks attached- nor had I seen them the previous day when she came home with the swollen spots.
I wasn’t taking any chances, so I tossed her in the vehicle and drove her straight to the walk in clinic.
As the doctor walked into the room, he greeted us he stopped short mid-sentence.
“So what brings Sadie in toda…….?? OH wow!”
He too, could see the rash poking out from her shirt.
Upon further inspection of the actual mosquito bites and the two on her collar bone- he told me he wasn’t taking any chances with her. She must have had a tick or two embedded on her. They must have been very tiny and based on the bite- she must have scratched and unknowingly gouged them out.
(That was his theory anyway)
He immediately started her on a two week antibiotic treatment and gave us a requisition as in five weeks we had to go for blood-work so they could screen for Lyme Disease.
At the time this happened (In 2016) no incidents of Lyme or ticks carrying Lyme Disease had yet been reported by the Health Unit in our area (but that would eventually change) but after seeing the rashes first hand- the doctor at the walk-in clinic was not taking any chances.
(And I still very grateful about that)
Since then, as we all know… The tick population is booming in areas they never seemed to bother with before.
My daughter came back with good results. No sign of Lyme.
After going through the Lyme Disease scare with my youngest- I absolutely implore you all to check your children, pets and yourselves after being outside if you live in an area where these creatures have settled.
**Have a tick key or two handy (I know that vets have been known to give them out- that is how I have ended up with multiple) just in case.
**If you do find a tick- bag it and take it to drop off at your local health unit for testing (This is procedure here in Ontario)
**With my dog- I always run a sticky lint roll over his fur after we have been out for walks or playing in the yard. Knock on wood- I have never found one on my dogs, but I do know my neighbors constantly are finding them on theirs.
**My neighbor introduced to me a natural bug repellent that included lemongrass essential oil and water. It’s a spray that you can make (and it smells delightful too) She made some for her kids and was kind enough to make a bottle for me as well.
**As I am writing this in the morning and can’t remember the exact recipe- I will update the blog with it after I talk with my neighbor**
I used this homemade spray on my kids after the tick incident and it really dramatically reduced the number of bug bites that they receive.
(That said- I also need to get the recipe again and make more..)
The moral of this story?
It is easy to brush it off and say ‘Meh- this can’t happen to me’ but it can. There isn’t any need to sounds alarms, but there is a need to be aware that these creepy crawly jerks are now out there, spreading to areas they never bothered much with before, and they are looking to feast and breed. Know that when they do strike, they can cause problems.
Fact: Not all ticks carry Lyme Disease.
(Don’t be scared- just be prepared)
As I said, my daughter’s tick bites looked like regular mosquito bites at first… The rash showed up 24 hours later. If you do check your kids (pets…etc..) always keep checking over the course of the next few days.
Even if you think it is just a regular mosquito bite.
It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Featured Photo: From Canva
All other photos: ©TheyOnceCalledHerPumpkin and belong to me.
**This story is our own personal story and experience.
Anything I discuss here is not to be taken as ‘for everyone’ and not as medical or health advice. My use of Benadryl on my children is part of their action plans prescribed by doctors.
For more information on Ticks and Lyme and even allergic reactions to bugs– Talk to your local health units, your doctor, do your research and be your own health advocate.