Saturday, July 13, 2013

Poison Everything


I'm generally freaking out. That's my usual mental state anyway, being the neurotic head case that I am, but for real. I am not used to the northern flora and fauna, being a Florida girl, and everything here, it seems, will kill you.

You may say that Floridians have to deal with hurricanes, man o wars, giant, green iguanas, banana spiders (google if you dare), but those things are nothing compared to poison ivy and Lyme disease.

I'm scared to death to set foot into anything resembling nature up here in the wilds of southern Delaware because of deer ticks and mysterious plants that cause oozing, itching, painful rashes. I don't know what poison ivy looks like and to further complicate matters there are also poison oak and poison sumac to worry about and I don't know what they look like either. Yes, I've googled pictures. They all look like plants to me. Look at the picture above. They all look the same! I have plant blindness I think, and I just can't really distinguish them very well. I'm not confident at all that I would know them if I were standing waist high in a full on thicket of all three and it would be my luck that there would be deer ticks stuck all over me at the same time, pumping me full of Lyme Disease toxins.

Lyme disease scares the living shit out of me. Recent articles in the New York Times and the New Yorker about it being a poorly understood, chronic, debilitating condition haven't helped ease my phobia one bit, because it's not like you can just get it and get some medicine and be done with it. Apparently you might have it forever and feel like you have MS. Plus, it comes from ticks. Ticks are the most horrifying creatures on earth. I'm terrified of them. Disease carrying, spidery things that attach to your skin and won't let go until they get so swollen with your blood that they fall off? No freaking thank you.

And, ugh, don't even remind me about chiggers. And scabies. And horseflies that bite and yellow jackets that sting. You northerners have some nerve squealing about our Floridian palmetto bugs, I swear. A big ole cockroach is nothing compared to some of the wildlife up here.

I think I'll just stay inside.

10 comments:

FreeDragon said...

Just stay away from vines in general and you should be good. Supposedly, it takes one hour for the rash to develop after contact so if you wash your hands as soon as you come in, you should be ok. If you do get poison ivy, go to the health food store and buy golden seal root oil. This is the same awful tasting stuff pot heads take to pass drug tests. Apply a few drops to the rash and the itching will stop for hours. It stains the skin yellow, but I'd rather be yellow than clawing my skin bloody.

Jessica Lin said...

General rule when hiking and you're unsure of the flora, "leaves of three...leave them be."

Wear Skin So Soft lotion as a bug deterrent, don't step into waist high grasses, and you'll be fine.

Jessica Lin said...

General rules when traipsing about the woods:

1. Wear bug spray, the ticks don't like it either.

2. Leaves of three leave them be.

3. Stick to the trail.

Now, go out in nature and have some fun!

Melanie said...

Growing up in the country, on a farm in Arkansas, we had to put up with several different kinds of poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, and scorpions, on top of the ticks and poisonous plants.

Back then, I didn't have a choice because I was a minor, but as soon as I turned 18 I moved to the city and here's where I plan to stay!

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

I'm REALLY allergic to poison ivy, etc. I hate bugs, I burn in 5 minutes of sunshine, we have ticks all over the place around here.

Yeah, I just stay in the house.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, poison ivy and poison oak grow in south Florida also. There are also ticks down there.
Fewer pythons and gators in MD though.

catherine said...

I felt this crawly thing on my arm and went to brush it off and it wouldn't brush off!! it was a tick! After I did my freakout dance, I called 911. I told them it wasn't really an emergency but I had a tick on me and I'm freaking out. Thank God she had a sense of humour, She laughed and said it sounds like an emergency to her, lol. She told me to slide a plastic card under the body, place your thumb on top of the ticks body, and pull it out in the direction it went in. Squish and flush. Check to make sure nothing else is sticking out where he bit you, if so, use tweezers and remove it, (it's the head) Wash area with disinfectant and keep an eye for any redness or swelling. See a doctor if there is. And that's it. Nothing to worry about, lol.

crazy_one said...

I talked to my Uncle today. I have some family near Ocala. After catching up on how family is doing and hearing his opinion on the Zimmerman case, he shares with me.... the infestation of bears!!!? Yes bears. In my head the bears are just moving on into the neighborhoods. I guess on the news they showed animal control chasing a bear up a tree. She apparently moved her and her two cubs into someone's backyard and the original tenants were not happy but she wasn't leaving. Sadly to say, the tranquilizers didn't sustain her and after a long struggle, animal control had to out her down. What the hell is going down there?


I know its not poisonous plants and creepy crawlies..... but bears?

JoeinVegas said...

Out west we don't have any of those plants that cause rashes that you can't identify. We just have all kinds of pokey things that are easy to tell by the sticking out about to stick you parts. Which on some plants is every part. And don't ever get close to the jumping cholla, they are vicious.

Jennifer the Chaos Queen said...

I completely agree with you: those leaves look like all the other damn leaves out there!

I come from California, where you don't run into poison oak much. I was in a woman's yard up in the mountains by Willets once and it was like, "oh, btw, poison oak way over there, don't go there," and easy to avoid. You probably have to go way into the wilds to find it.

Last year I went on a tour of the East Coast. Apparently in my relatives' suburban neighborhood in Massachusetts, poison ivy just grows FREAKING EVERYWHERE! All over the place, all the time! Are you kidding me!?

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