There are a special pair of pants I pull on when working around the yard. They’re made of a quick-drying fabric and have lots of pockets for all my crap, but that’s not what makes them special. The great attribute these pants have is something I added: a heavy coating ofÂ permethrin spray that literally stops ticks in their tracks.
Yes, ticks freak me out.
This time of year, I try to avoid areas likely to be infested and obsessively check myself after working outdoors. Even after all that, it may not matter: I’m convinced that the tick who gets me will leap off one of the dogs and onto me as I sleep.
Now there’s another risk, one that in some ways is worse than Lyme disease: a tick-born sugar molecule called alpha-gal that may cause you to become allergic to red meat.
Right. Not a virus, not a bacteria, but a sugar molecule. And it makes your body revolt against itself.
The carrier is the lone star tick, a variety that’s been working its way north and in recent years started showing up in New York. I’d heard of the tick and this alarming condition before, but it wasÂ Â this episode of Radiolab on public radio really got me worried.
Someday they’ll figure out a way to get this tick thing under control.
Until then just spray and pray and hope the ticks don’t get you. How ironic that in a world of big risks, something so tiny may be our undoing.