That is one gross picture of those nasty little blood suckers. I have shared how much I HATE ticks and how they scare me. It is time to take on some facts about Lyme disease. How can we leave the house and protect ourselves, our families and pets.

I am not tick expert, but I am sure my plan to not go outside all summer may be effective, but gees, I am going to miss out on a lot of nice weather and ShadowDog will be very unhappy.  So, what can we do.

As for the dog, he has seen his vet and has his flea and tick prevention treatments.  When we do venture out I spray his legs and belly with a natural tick spray I found.  It has a lot of pungent natural oils, like clove.  It had done a good job and he smells like Christmas cookies! When we get home, I put him in right into the tub and rinse him down. He does not like it, but hey, Shadow does not pay the mortgage.

As for me, according to the Maine CDC there is a lot we can do. You should wear light-colored clothing -- this will allow you to see ticks that are crawling on your clothing, tuck your pant leg into your socks so that ticks cannot crawl up the inside of your pants legs.  There are repellants to discourage tick attachment. Repellents containing permethrin can be sprayed on boots and clothing, and will last for several days. But it seems like the big thing is the ‘tick check’.  Do a body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas by searching your entire body for ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Remove any tick you find on your body.

Removing a tick is not that hard. I have a ‘tick spoon’. It scoops them right off the skin. There are other ways and it you can read all about it.  Gives me the willies.

I am not being a drama queen. In 2011, 96% of Lyme disease cases were reported from 13 states most of them in the North East United States. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the United States--in 2011, it was the 6th most common Nationally Notifiable disease.

If you are bitten there are something’s to keep in mind. Most of the time the bit site will have a ‘bulls eye’ looking rash. But not always!   Check out all the things you need to know for symptoms of a tick bite and treatments.  I can tell you, if I find a tick in my skin.  After I stop hyperventilating and get IT OFF OF ME,  I will be calling my doctor. So whatever may or may not happen, I will be on it as soon as possible. Same for the dog and his vet.