The other day I accompanied my child's class on a nature walk. The guide we had was great, she talked to the kids about the different types of trees, about various plants, animals and creatures found in the forest. She shared that our very common spruce trees are used to make toilet paper - most of the kids kringed and laughed. Along the way, the children played with dandelions (hydrating the stems) in a little river to make them curl up like ribbons, tried to convince a squirrel to eat some sun flower seeds and looked for salamanders under rocks and old logs.
At the end of the nature walk, our guide reminded the children that our forests and parks have ticks. She said, "don't forget to do tick checks" by looking for "freckles that move". The kids all laughed but it stuck with them and 5 min. later I saw them checking one another.
Ticks aren't just an issue at school outings. Summer is a popular time of year to have family or children's pictures taken and if taken outdoors in pretty fields or anywhere where there is tall grass, ticks may be present. Your local pharmacy and Natural product stores have lots of options for repellants and the folks that work there can make some great recommendations and share information about the effectiveness of each product.
As we exited the path I saw a few spots that would be great for family photos or for some artistic sessions i'm planning later this summer. I mentioned it to my daughter and her response was, "after you are done, I'll check you for freckles that move". :)
Later that night, after our school nature walk, we received a reminder from the school about the excursion and the importance of checking for ticks. Even though we had used a tick & bug repellant, I checked my daughter and she checked me. I explained that they could be as small as the back of a pin and as large as pencil eraser (or larger). She asked me why ticks were a concern and I shared what I know about Lyme Disease.
Next time you go out into a field, park or forest to have pictures taken you may want to check yourself, your children and pets for 'freckles that move' when you get home.
I'm not an expert on ticks or Lyme Disease, nore am I in the medical field. I'm just a mom and a photographer. If you'd like to read more, here are some links to information on Lyme Disease and Ticks:
Tick Talk video for kids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU8wLgXZ92M&feature=youtu.be
Nova Scotia Tick Safety: https://novascotia.ca/ticksafety/
Recent Article posted in the Chronical Herald: http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1292362-lyme-disease-tick-numbers-up-due-to-late-winter
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