This graph from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives a clear picture of what’s ahead for summer: plenty of potential for tick bites transmitting Lyme (and other nasties).
You cannot be too careful; there’s no such thing. A friend told me the other day that his mom’s hairdresser found a tick in her hair. Thankfully it had not bitten her yet.
She has an indoor cat and doesn’t generally spend much time off sidewalks, so you can see that this health threat can be tough to avoid.
I’ve heard that 50% of ticks around here are infected. The odds are not good. We’ve got to be vigilant all year long, even in winter, but never more than in May thru August.
I know, ugly photo. But it shows the flowerbed in my backyard where I got a tick embedded in my hip one summer. And a bull’s-eye rash soon after. And pretty soon was very, very ill.
As you can see, my garden is in a sad state these days. Last summer and fall I was too sick to clean it up—and besides, I was very afraid of the danger lurking there.
I said to myself, I’ll feel better in the winter. I’ll get rid of the dead things when the ticks are gone.
Flash forward to the middle of winter. Someone in my support group reported that she’d just come inside her house and done a complete tick check—in January. In Virginia.
And found a live deer tick. We were shocked.
I’d assumed that once temperatures dipped below freezing, ticks were done for ‘til spring. Now I know otherwise.
Here’s what I found out.