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Ticks


Summary: Ticks make me think of tick bites and tick bites make me think of horrible jagged insect mouthparts sucking my blood. Enough! I'm grossing myself out.

Ticks are not our friends. Tocks, on the other hand! Tocks! Get it? Tick tock! Never mind.

Ticks lie in tall grass or shrubs, waiting patiently for an unsuspecting victim to pass by and then, they grab you and let go only when they satisfied their hunger. Hunger for your blood! Sounds like a horror film, doesn't it?

Ticks have a harpoon-like mouthpart with angled barbs allowing it to go into skin easily, but making it difficult to pull out. Of course, everyone knows that when a tick bites tick removal requires a hot match to burn the tick off, right? Wrong! The hot match causes the tick to regurgitate its stomach contents directly into the hole it has just made in your arm, which increases the chance of passing a disease to your blood. You are supposed to use tweezers with thin tips to pull the tick off slowly. Another way to remove ticks is to use a flat stick with a thin notch in it to pull the ticks off. This method is particularly effective in removing dog ticks. Thread or fishing line tied in an overhand knot and placed over the ticks head can be used to remove ticks by slowly closing the loop around the head of the tick and then pulling it off. This will get rid of the tick's head as well as the body and possibly earn you a shiny new belt buckle from the National Rodeo Association.

There are hard and soft types of ticks, but both kinds are a nuisance to humans. Hard ticks have a hard outer shell giving them a shield like outer layer. Soft ticks lack this shell and are more a sack like in shape, having a soft outer skin.
 
Some ticks live on one host for their entire life cycle, but many ticks require more than one host. Hard ticks tend to stay on their host longer than soft ticks. And, keep this in mind. Ticks do not jump, run, or fly, so direct physical contact is the only way that they can come in contact with a host.

By the way, not only do ticks suck your blood, they are also carriers of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus, rickettsial pox, relapsing fever, tularemia, Colorado tick fever and Texas cattle fever. All this misery from one little tick.  Infections caused by ticks generally take awhile to develop. Generally, it takes more than 24 hours in the case of Lyme disease, but you can greatly reduce the risk of infection by removing ticks immediately after they have become attached. Now, all you need is a friend to check you for ticks.



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