God made a lot of creatures. He made us; He made our pets; He made the beavers and groundhogs that plague Camp Cowboy. God made the whitetail deer (thanks again God!) but He also made the tiny black-legged ticks that deer carry around. He put a lot of deer here in Loudoun County, Virginia, and He also put a lot of people.
As a result, more and more people are coming down with the serious deer tick-born illness Lyme disease.
The church I go to meets in a school across the road from my house. However, the church also owns an 18-acre property about a mile down the road where a new church building will someday be constructed. In the meantime, the property can be used for a lot of other things. The pastor suggested last night that we organize a family campout there. He cautioned, though, against venturing into the hay fields on the back portion of the lot.
"It seems like everyone who goes back there gets Lyme disease," he said.
He went on to say that he's had Lyme disease and that at least two church members have come down with it after spending time in the hay field. I mentioned that I too have had Lyme disease; twice.
Lyme disease really is becoming an epidemic here, and no one who spends time outside is safe. An area such as a hayfield is prime deer tick habitat, but you can pick up them up anywhere there is grass, trees or bushes, including your own back yard.
I'm telling you this story because I can't emphasize enough how important it is to take precautions against getting deer ticks; check for them after you, your kids or your pets have been outside and to seek treatment if you experience any Lyme disease symptoms.
Deer ticks are so small that you may carry one around for several days, have it drop off and never even know you had it. The symptoms of Lyme disease can be so subtle--and it is so hard to diagnose--that it could be years before you know you have that.
Please be careful.