Second, there are the snakes. They're not exclusive to spring, of course. Summer and fall have their share. But after hibernating all winter, they're hungriest in the spring and more active. That means we have to be especially watchful when we let the dogs out to potty before bedtime and hope for the best during the day because snakes are around then, too. Over the years, one of our dogs has been bitten by a copperhead twice (he's a slow learner), and another dog and one cat have each been bitten once. All of those bites occurred in the month of October, and all the animals were fine. A vet once told me that snakes save their venom for prey and don't release all--or even any--when trying to get a person or animal away from them. However, he said that spring bites were usually the worst because the snake's venom sacs are fuller after the lengthy winter hibernation. So we hold our breath and keep our fingers crossed until spring passes.
Third--and this spring, most important to me--are the ticks. You know how they say on TV that you should spray thoroughly with tick repellent any time you go hiking or walk anywhere that might be tick infested? Well, if we did that, we would be bathing in the stuff every day. Our environment is a tick's idea of paradise. Lots of chemical-free ground cover to perch on and wait for an unsuspecting animal or human to walk by. I treat our cats and dogs with Frontline, of course, but I've read that ticks are growing resistant to it. Even if it works, I can imagine a tick getting on one of our animals, the animal comes in the house, the tick who by now has gotten a whiff of the Frontline goes "oh, yuck" and jumps off. And since no one has had the foresight to make Frontline for humans--well, you get the picture.
I got the picture last Sunday. I was reading in bed, turned off the light, rolled over, and felt the telltale sting and itch of a tick bite on my right hip. I jumped out of bed, ran to the bathroom, pulled the culprit off, and flushed it. A little Bactine for the itching and back to bed. It's happened before, and I knew it would happen again.
Well, this time I didn't get off so easily. Within a day, the redness around the bite had grown much worse. A day or so later, I thought it might be a good idea to see a doctor. My husband and I are both usually bitten several times every spring (last year he'd had seven bites before the month of April had passed), and none had ever looked like this. I went to our local walk-in clinic and saw a physician's assistant. She couldn't say for sure if I had been exposed to Lyme Disease, but considering the redness was unusual and did look like a bullseye, she decided it was better to be safe than sorry and prescribed doxycycline, the drug of choice to combat Lyme Disease. She said the advice is to take it 14-21 days, but 21 days was the better option unless I experienced too many side effects from it. This is my fourth day on it, and so far, it's not bothering me. And the reddened area is fading.
I'll never know if I was actually exposed to Lyme Disease, but I feel better knowing I'm on the drug to prevent it. And for another 17 days, I can thumb my nose at any tick that decides to chomp on me!