Monday, June 15, 2015

Plein Air Painting - Watch Out For Ticks!

Sorry no photos with this post but please take the time to read, as it may save you some grief this summer.

This is my version of a public service announcement.  As the title of this post reveals I'm sending out a message to all my fellow plein air painters, travel journalers/sketchers, and just plain anyone who's out enjoying nature.

Ticks!  Eeeekkkk, their creepy crawly, annoying, and more than just plain Yucky with a capitol Y.  They can be dangerous, and I wanted to remind all of my readers to take precaution when you plan to go out to paint or sketch!

Why the concern you ask?  Well you see before I left on my cruise I was Plein air painting my first Oil (see "Norwood's Buttercup Fields" A Plein Air Study, 5" X 7" Oil on Canvas Panel.) And quite a few ticks hitched a ride and had lunch at the Gloria Callahan Diner AKA my legs!  And I was not very aware of them until I showered late in the day.  They were tiny, seed like specs!  SIX of them Eeeeewww.  But I removed them within 8 hours of their catching a ride.

........................OR SO I THOUGHT!...............................

Two days later, the morning we left on our trip, I found that two more tiny seed like in size had hitched a ride, undetected.  They had been on me for 3 days!.  It's recommend by the CDC to remove ticks before they have been attached for 36 hours.  Well this was not good!  But hey we booked a cruise and paid for it so I disinfected myself and took some antihistamine for the itching and planned to enjoy my trip.

The fourth day of our trip (8 days after being bitten) I developed the bullseye rash typically associated with Lyme's disease and was feeling tired.  But no this couldn't be, we were almost to Jamaica, in the western Caribbean, I told myself, "It would wait till I got home.  I had deserved this trip and I was just run down from my hectic schedule".  I won't bore you with the details of how I progressed over the next week and a half.  But suffice it to say I had all the symptoms of Lyme's, my Dr. said.  So she began the two week treatment by antibiotics right away.

If you want to know the all the symptoms click here.  But here is the important facts I learned:

1.  The rash only develops in 70-80% of people who have it.

2.  And the blood test only comes back positive regularly after 6-8+ weeks of it in your system.

False negative results can keep you from getting the treatment, so my Dr. thought it best to treat me and not wait.  AND I was feeling badly,  exhausted, very confused and disoriented .  So please be careful.  I finished my treatment this past weekend and I'm still tired a little achy but hoping it clears up soon.  But overall way better than before the treatment.

YES, I will continue to go out to plein air paint, sketch and enjoy the outdoors.  But I have a new bug spray WITH DEET in it.(see below).  And I will use a scrubby when showering IMMEDIATELY after I get home!

DISCLAIMER:  I'm not a specialist/professional in the health field so please investigate on your own, see your Dr.   I have posted a few links here to help inform you and info I have learned from the reading I have done.   
Obvious Tick tips: 
Avoid Contact with Ticks

Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

Walk in the center of trails.

The following is from: CDC at
Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin
Use repellents that contain 20 to 30 percent  DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes and mouth.

Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may provide longer-lasting protection.

Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body 

Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. 
Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. 
Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats and day packs.
Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)

Removing ticks
Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. 
Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers. 
You may want to save the tick in a small jar of alcohol. If you get sick, having the tick can help with diagnosis.

Helpful Hint

icon of a tickAvoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--do not wait for it to detach.


If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.

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