As most of you know by now, Massachusetts' beloved Cape Cod and the Islands (Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket) their beaches and roadsides, paths through the woods and back yard havens, are now overrun by ticks carrying lyme disease. Go shopping to the local market, and in the parking lot, you'll overhear folks comparing notes on their neighbor's (or their own) bout with the tick born lyme disease. Originally thought to nest in the fur of deer, the ticks now make their home on animals as small as mice, and certainly live in the fur of pet cats and dogs who have been allowed to go outside and enjoy the fresh salty air. Enjoying the leaves of plants as small as two inches high, or living among the greens of the lofty oak, these tiny ticks have ensured misery for the many.
Recently, Marash Girl engaged in one of her favorite pastimes — a visit to a yard sale on Cape Cod. Yard sales on Cape Cod are not simply for stocking up on gadgets that you don't need but can't resist just because the price is so cheap -- rather they're a time to enjoy the sun and fresh air and catch up with your "neighbor" the way folks used to do in the old days. Yesterday, the "neighbor" on Captain Blount Road sold Marash Girl all kinds of treasures at 50 cents apiece. While Marash Girl paid the total sum of $10 (how many treasures was that? -- get your pencils out!) -- yes. Marash Girl had gone to the bank the day before to make sure she had cash -- no credit cards or checks accepted at yard sales -- the proprietress began talking about her bout with lyme disease. (Marash Girl can't remember how the topic came up!) At any rate, this young woman told of her year long fight to regain her health and went on to say that Harwich was known to be the hot spot for lyme disease -- which was the reason she moved from Harwich to Yarmouth! As she obviously still gardened around her house, Marash Girl asked the young woman how she prevented getting reinfected by the pesky ticks.
Her solution? A lint roller.
She advised the following: every time you return from working in your garden or from a walk along the beach or a walk in the woods -- whether or not the path is cement, tar, sand or dirt -- keep a lint roller handy, and roll that roller over every inch of your exposed skin and your clothing -- have someone do the back of your clothes as well -- throw your clothing into the washing machine using hot water (after you've removed the clothing from your self, of course) and while the clothes are washing, take a shower; when the wash is done, throw the clothing in the dryer. The heat from the dryer will destroy any ticks that may have survived the wash.
If you do find a tick on your body, call 911 -- no, just kidding -- call your doctor and the doctor will usually prescribe a prophylactic dose of doxycyclin (usually one day's worth).
Marash Girl can tell you from experience -- contracting lyme disease is no joke!