Fear of Lyme (Or, The End of Outdoor Nudity)

  |  July 9, 2013
deer tick

Tick checks. Nobody likes ’em. Some folks say you can solve the tick problem with an end-of-day bath. Others spend the evening combing every nook and cranny for the suckers. A few oddballs remain skeptical about the existence, or at least pervasiveness, of Lyme. And some are just forgetful, benignly neglectful, and send the kids and themselves to bed without even a glance.

Well, that latter lack-of-strategy backfired recently, when a slightly engorged tick was found nestled deep into a headful of curly hair. Panic ensued. Calls to the doctor (if it’s been less than 24 hours, no worries, she said; more than that and it gets complicated). A decision was made: mail the tick to a lab in Massachusetts that will test it for Lyme and countless other diseases, $50 per disease. You could spend a fortune. Some upstaters shelled out the $50 just for the Lyme test, which blessedly came out negative.

But by that time we were spooked. Should we no longer let our child run naked in the grass, one of her great joys of life? No more peeing by a tree, another of her great joys? Walks through the woods only in full body armor?

We decided to go the liberal route, and allow for outdoor nudity combined with a more rigorous tick check. Still, it makes the outdoors seem so menacing, looming with miniature creatures who carry the power to disrupt, if not destroy, one’s life with a disease that is very difficult to detect or test for. Is the solution to be more conservative, and treat nature as a potential enemy?

Read On, Reader...