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As a regular warrior of the Wars and a hunting master of these same woods, I often engage the menaces which lurk beside the trails. As yet, they have not brought me down for I am wary of their ways. However, I fear many of the camp-followers and unseasoned warriors may be ensnared unwittingly. Furthermore, without proper training in the combat of these dangers places them and those who aid them at greater risk.

The terrorists of which I speak are three in number, and are present along all wooded paths of these forests. Their names: Brown, American Dog, and Deer (Tick). These highway men match the peak of their activity coincident with the months of battle. Of the three, the most likely to attack man is American Dog, and he may be found on any pet anywhere.

Some characteristics of these terrorists are as follows: All are attracted by the carbon dioxide of the victims breath. Sensing this, they will move from the bush or branch from where they rest towards its source. Once aboard the victim, they may mate and the female will lay her eggs before feeding. Then, they will penetrate the skin with their mouth parts, which the victim never feels. Next, a cement is secreted which bonds the mouth parts to the skin ("stuck like a tick").

The feeding tick uses an enzyme to break down the blood, and if the tick is diseased, this enzyme can transmit the disease to the host. (It is uncommon for dogs to be infected with these diseases.) These include such maladies as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease (common in the East Kingdom, by moving into Atlantia and the Middle as well.) Rare, but still included are tick paralysis and tularemia though uncommon in humans.

Removal of these pests is hazardous, because of the disease bearing enzymes and secretions. Tweezers should be used to hold and gently pull the tick off the victim. this will hopefully remove the embedded mouth parts as well. If tweezers are not available, tissue paper or disposable gloves may be used instead. Extreme care should be observed when removing ticks bloated with blood, so as not to squash the beastie and spread diseases contained in its (or yours) bodily fluids.

Once the tick is removed, the area must be washed with soap and covered with antiseptic. If the bite becomes infected or the victim ill, a doctor should be notified immediately. Prevention (and education) is the best medicine that can be proscribed to combat these fiends. As they tend to concentrate along paths frequented by potential hosts, appropriate attire is the first line of defense. Long sleeves, trousers, boots, and a hat are strongly recommended. Ticks initially crawl into a person's clothes and not the skin. It will then search for an exposed area on the victims body.

It takes a tick about two hours to get oriented on the victim. Then, it will generally move to head, underarms, waist or groin as feeding sites. Repellents applied to the skin will discourage them from attaching themselves. From experience, some repellents will cause feeding ticks to detach, and they may simply be washed off.

Man is not a natural host for these villains. However, children tend to be at risk, as they like to play in areas generally inhabited by these pests. Parents would be wise to regularly and often inspect their kinder so that they may not suffer overlong. On a more factual note, ticks are not insects. They are more closely related to mites and spiders. Adult ticks have eight legs, not six as do insects.

Those persons who use period "straw ticks" for their rope beds are not subject to attacks by ticks, but by mites. I'm aware that some herbs are natural repellents to these buggers, but I'm not sure which ones, You could add these herbs as well as other sweet smelling ones to the mix of straw and have a truly fine "bower" for a bed.

Baron Dur of Hidden Mountain

(ask Arnoff for my bio.)

This was published on the Rialto.


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September 2010

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