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TICKS OMFG! What’s Up, and What You Can Do

Hi Fireflies!
Here’s a friendly message from your neighborhood first aid peoples!

*reportedly, or whatever.

Well folks, the apocalypse has arrived.
The beast has risen as the leader of the free world, and a plaque of ticks has reportedly befallen us in biblical proportions.
There’s no way to gauge with absolute certainty the chances of contracting Lyme Disease at Firefly this year, but the volunteer epidemiologists at Firefly First Aid did a Google search and the top 5 hits either say “this could be the worst tick season in years!” or “You’re fucked!”
So it’s probably serious.
How are you going to protect yourself from Ticks this year?
Permethrin? Agent Orange? Patchouli and crystals?
Let’s share some knowledge!

Here’s a few recommendations from the CDC:

1) “Wear some fucking clothes, you damn hippy!”  (These are almost the CDC’s actual words, believe it or not.)
Clothing, particularly long sleeved clothing* can help keep ticks off your skin.
The more covered up your skin is, the less ticks will get on your skin, and the less likely you are to be bitten. I know Logic is hard, so we at Firefly First Aid created this easy-to-remember slogan for Firefly 2017: Clothes Good!
Oh, and wearing light colors can make it easier to spot ticks on your clothes (sorry, darkwads).
You may also consider avoiding fields of tall grass, bushes, or foresty underbrush, where ticks like to hang out and wait for you to brush by.
*there is insufficient data regarding whether this recommendation applies to chaps (looking at you Pete).

2) Check for ticks daily!
It most often takes at least 36 hours of being embedded in your skin for a tick to transmit Lyme Disease to you.
So if you get naked and check yourself for ticks once a day, you can greatly decrease your chances of contracting Lyme.
I know getting naked seems to contradict recommendation #1, but come on, Firefly First Aid is never contradictory or confusing.
And I know remembering can be hard, so we at Firefly First Aid created this easy to remember slogan for Firefly 2017: Get Naked, Safe a Life!
And while you’re down there…
Be sure check *all* of your bits and pieces.
Recently a friend who will not be named (but will just be imagined by everyone who knows them right now) found a tick on a body part, which will also not be named (but also imagined by everyone who knows right now).
Now let that image gently tickle the backs of your eye-balls… Let the image teabag your brain. Imagine getting a tick there!
Be sure to bring a hand mirror!
The Deer Tick, which is known to carry Lyme, can be small, sized anywhere from a poppy seed to a sesame seed.
Be sure to check for ticks with adequate lighting.
And maybe consider bringing a sealable receptacle, so as not to populate the area around your tent with discarded ticks. Or, maybe kill them with fire *after* (please do it after) you remove them.

3) Removing Ticks
Do not follow your misguided folk remedies!
— Burning a tick does not work frequently nor consistently. It also carries a risk of you burning yourself.
— Suffocating a tick with oil takes too long and, as such, does not necessarily decrease your chances of contracting Lyme.
— Digging a tick out with your dirty camping knife and leaving a giant open wound in your skin while you are unclean in the woods can lead to infection and is dumb.
— Using tweezers inappropriately can cause the tick to regurgitate its stomach contents into you.

Ok, so how are we supposed to remove a fucking disease-infested tick from transmitting plague?

Follow this method! The CDC knows what’s up:

4) Watch for signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease.

It’s unlikely that you’ll develop symptoms of Lyme while at Firefly.
It takes 3-30 days for a bull’s eye rash to appear.
The bull’s eye rash is rarely as delineated as it appears in internet pictures, but these are some good examples:
Other early symptoms to look out for are fever, chills, and body aches. If you have a fever in the middle of July and were recently in the woods, something is wrong — go see your doctor.
Lyme is better treated sooner than later, with less likelihood of complications. Be vigilant.
Later symptoms include joint pain and swelling, later followed by weakness, numbness, and other neurological symptoms.

5) Post-exposure antibiotic prophylaxis:
The volunteers at Firefly First Aid are not medical providers at Firefly. We do not distribute antibiotics nor administer medications.
If you are considering leaving Firefly to obtain preventative post-exposure antibiotics, consider the following:
Antibiotics are medications and, like all drugs, carry personal and public-health risks.
Because of that, there are criteria which determine whether it is appropriate for a doctor to prescribe you a preventative post-exposure antibiotic.
These criteria include:
–The tick must have been embedded in you for over 36 hours.
–The tick must have been removed within the last 72 hours.
–You must be in an area where Lyme is endemic (which we are).
–You must not have any contradictions to receiving the antibiotics.
–Also worth noting, Amoxicillin was found ineffective as Lyme prophylaxis, so that fish mox isn’t going to work.

Ok, that’s all the official information Firefly First Aid has about protecting yourself from ticks and Lyme.
What information have you all got to share?
I know there’s been a lot of talk in the Facebook group about prevention, but this subject warrants review by everyone. Let’s make it happen so no one misses a thing.
Prophylactically yours,
on behalf of Firefly First Aid
(tagging my co-leads TJ and Parra in case they feel compelled to field any questions you post on the topic)

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