Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur


Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. p. 30.

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Tick bites are another matter. The blood-sucking little bastards are quite disgusting on general principles. They can be vectors for Rocky Mountain spotted fever (hasn't been a case in Oregon in two decades) and the new favorite: Lyme disease (if you see the characteristic bull's-eye pattern—red spot with white ring— get thee to a doctor).

Lyme disease is carried by very tiny little ticks; so small that you don't notice them (you notice Oregon Desert ticks!). Cases have been reported in Oregon along the lower Columbia River, but not in the Oregon Desert.

Ticks are a problem in the late spring and early summer.

Bathing will remove unattached ticks. Look for ticks everywhere on your body after hiking. (Lovers, of course, should inspect each other.) Prompt inspection means easy removal by scraping and plucking before the ticks have securely fastened themselves. If the tick is engorged with your blood and/or securely fastened, plucking it off with tweezers and scraping off any remaining mouth parts is best followed by soap-and-water cleaning and maybe an adhesive bandage. If the tick takes a bit of your skin as you take it off your skin, that means you got it all. Disinfect the tweezers.

Hot matches, petroleum jelly, hot wire, glue, fingernail polish, and so forth don't work. All you will have is a mess. Just yank the damn thing off and he done with it.