Thanks in part to climate change, ticks are exploring territory (including your skin) in more areas than ever before. They used to be rare in the inner suburbs of Sydney, but lately I’ve had to pull a few off myself or family members each summer. Instead of freaking out anew over each one, start a scrapbook.
This idea comes from Jena Whiston, who wrote about her “tick kit” for Scary Mummy. My own tick kit only consists of one item — a TickKey, which lets you remove a tick without touching it. (Get a tick removal device of your choice now, before you need it, and stash it wherever you keep your essential first aid gear.)
When you pop that tick off, instead of drowning it or trashing it or sending it off to get tested, just tape it down on a piece of paper and write a note about whom you removed it from, and when.
Ask your doctor how much to worry and whether they recommend antibiotics (for you) or testing (for you or for the tick). In many cases, especially if tick bites are common in your area, you’ll be advised to do nothing unless there are further symptoms. Defer to your doc on this.
But keep that scrapbook. It’s not just a source of happy summer memories, but also a record of exactly what bit your family members and when. If later on somebody has symptoms of one of the many tick-borne diseases (Lyme is not the only one!) you might have to answer questions like “Did she have any tick bites that you recall? When? I don’t suppose you know what kind of tick it was?”
But you will know. Even if you’re not an entomologist, you have the tick right there in your scrapbook and can turn it in for identification and testing, and regale the doc with the specifics of when and how you found the tick. With luck, you won’t need this information. But if you do, you’ll be glad you have it.