Tuesday, June 14, 2005
You sojourned to Wakarusa for live music, free love and drum circles. But lurking within the inviting environs of Clinton Lake are unseen dangers - many of which prey primarily upon non-locals, who are often caught unaware of their menacing threat. We suggest you familiarize yourself with the enemy before expressing the full glory of your free love.
Non-native Kansans may not recognize chiggers as the tiny bugs that embed themselves under your skin when attracted to your moist folds of skin and areas with tight-fitting clothing.
The best way to prevent the wrath of chiggers is to employ a blanket between you and the ground. DEET-based repellants, as well as natural preventives like citronella, patchouli and sulfur add a further layer of defense.
Most importantly, don't scratch them. If you start bleeding, the plasma in your blood attracts more chiggers. For small infestations, you can cover the affected area with clear nail polish to suffocate the bastards. If you have so many that it's impossible to remove them, try bathing in oatmeal and take Benadryl for discomfort.
Ticks are almost impossible to prevent in these parts. But, with vigilance, you can keep them from becoming too firmly attached to your skin. Immediately after returning from wooded areas or sitting on the ground, thoroughly inspect your entire body for the bastards. Leaving ticks on your body for an extended period of time could lead to a lifetime of illness. Dogs are also vulnerable to ticks, and you should regularly check them as well.
To remove a tick, grasp the tick close to the skin - if you squeeze the top of the tick, you could inject more toxins into your body - and carefully pull directly away from the skin. Resist the temptation to pull too hard or twist more than a few degrees - if you leave the head in your skin it can become the source of week-long irritation. Some folks recommend pouring whiskey, etc. on the tick prior to removal (these people are idiots). After removing, kill the sumbitch with a lighter. Or a gun.
Wasps and Honey Bees
Wasps and bees tend to avoid you so long as you aren't attacking them. We suggest not attacking them.
Treat bee stings with a paste of baking soda and water to neutralize the sting. You can also apply a cloth soaked with Dr Pepper, which, miraculously, takes care of the inflammation.
The size and amount of poison ivy at Clinton Lake Park has increased dramatically in recent years. The wisdom of old - "leaves of three, let it be" - still applies. Other indicators include jagged, saw tooth edges and a somewhat waxy look. The color can vary.
If you come into contact with poison ivy:
The goal is to get the plant's oil off of your skin. You can't use soap because most contain fats and oils that will seal in the poison ivy. It's best to use cold water, as hot water will open your pores and cause the oils to seep in. You can also use mineral spirits, nail polish remover or any petroleum solvent.
Only one person in Kansas has died from a snake bite since 1950. While there are several types of snakes on the Clinton Lake Park property, only two are venomous: the timber rattlesnake and copperhead.
Snakes usually avoid human traffic, but on cooler nights, you will commonly see the snakes on asphalt and concrete to stay warm. Also, after heavy rains, the snakes abandon their lakeside rock homes in favor of drier land.
If you should be bitten:
1. Take note of what the snake looks like. This will help a doctor treat you, if necessary. Don't try to capture the snake because that gives it another chance to bite you. You're delicious.
2. If the wound is bleeding, don't try and stop it. Blood flow will help push out the venom. If you try to treat it, you could push the venom back in.
3. Wash and cover the wound. Then go to a doctor.