Ticked off!

            Spring is here at last, but unfortunately the warmer weather brings with it pests that have been safely tucked away all winter. The pest that I am thinking of is the creepy, crawly kind – namely ticks!

            Just say the word and my skin starts to get itchy. These days ticks have become quite common in our neck of the woods, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I never even knew what a tick was until I was an adult and had children. Someone brought a jar to school which contained several plucked from someone’s family pets. They were greyish in color and ugly in appearance because they were bloated with blood.

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            But my first real encounter with these little vampires was when our daughter, who was six or seven years old at the time, complained one morning that something was stuck in her hair. I parted her long locks only to find a small insect with its head already attached to her scalp and its legs waving frantically about. A tick!

            One must have crawled up her clothing the previous evening when we were visiting friends and the kids were playing in the long grass. I tried to stay calm but visions of those bulging ticks kept floating through my mind and clouded my better judgement. Not knowing what to do (remember this was well before the days of Google), I grabbed a pair of tweezers, took hold of that tick’s body and gave a good yank! It came out, head and all (thank goodness), but so did a good chunk of my little girl’s hide. She cried and I felt bad, but soon the pain and the tears subsided and we were off to school.

            I related the incident to my co-workers who quickly informed me that a tick must never be pulled out without first ensuring that the head would not be left behind. This was done by smothering the insect with some ointment or such. Well, next time I would know better.

I didn’t have to wait long because the very next morning our gal awoke with another tick attached to her – this one on her eyelid of all places! She was freaking out because she could see and feel the bug moving about. I tried to calm her down as I liberally smeared a thick coat of Vaseline over her entire eyelid.

            After waiting a few minutes, I approached with the tweezers in hand. But now my daughter really started to panic. She remembered only all too well how our last encounter had gone and she was having none of that! I wasn’t all too eager to pluck off that critter either. What if I ended up ripping a big piece of skin from her eyelid?

            So her dad took her off to the local hospital where the doctor would perform the delicate surgery. But apparently before he could even try to remove it, the tick fell off on its own. It seems our girl was in more danger of losing her eyesight from all the ointment I had slathered on than any harm the tick could inflict.

            Since then I have removed many ticks from myself, my husband and our dog and I am pleased to say that no one has lost any skin in the process.