Watch out for killer bugs
By Clif Knight
You don’t have to be attacked by a mountain lion to be in danger of loosing your life.
I was reminded of that last week when Geanell pulled a common tick from the upper part of my left arm.
The bloodsucker apparently attached to my skin the day before and appeared to me as a blood red speck the size of a pinhead. I touched it and tried unsuccessfully to scrape its off. The next day Geanell saw me scratching the area and looked. She jerked it off and flushed its down the commode.
“It was a tick.” Geanell said after checking the spot where it was attached to the skin. Itching, swelling and soreness followed. Similar symptoms occurred 30 years ago when
I pulled a tick out of my hair before landing in the hospital with Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Tick bites are not uncommon for someone like me who spend a lot of time working outdoors. I’ve found three crawling on me hunting a place to hunker down this year. I was lucky that neither one of them was a carrier for the Rocky Mountain spotted Fever virus. A case of the fever usually occurs within 72 hours of being bitten.
The case I had 40 years ago was one of 12 recorded in Alabama. I was bitten on a Sunday and had to leave work on the next day with flu-like symptoms, headache and fever. I went to see a doctor on Monday and was given a dose of medication to head off the fever in case that if what I had. On Tuesday, I was taken to the ER in Decatur after I had to have help getting to the bathroom, and was admitted to the hospital. I was placed in the care of a doctor who specialized in cases like mine. My fever broke on Wednesday and I was released from the hospital on Thursday.
It was a week later before a blood test determined that I was infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Remember that extra caution is the best protection against the little ticks that are hard to see anytime you’re hunting in the woods, working in the garden or puttering around in the grass outdoors.