Removing Ticks

With a pair of fine point tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull outward with a slow, even force, pulling in the opposite direction to how the tick entered the skin.

DO NOT JERK OR TWIST THE TICK. This might tear the head and mouth parts from the tick's body and will encourage the ticks fluid to enter your blood stream or skin.

DO NOT USE YOUR FINGERS TO REMOVE THE TICK. Squeezing the tick could cause it to disgorge the contents of its body into the wound. You can contract Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever simply by handling ticks and having their excretions absorb through your skin.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE TICK WITH CHEMICALS (such as nail polish remover, soap, kerosene, oils, etc) OR BY HEATING THE TICKS WITH A MATCH. This can kill it before it disengages its mouthparts. It can also cause the tick to regurgitate into the wound, increasing the likelihood of transmitting diseases.

WASH THE ATTACHMENT SITE. Use warm soapy water and rubbing alcohol. You can apply an ointment like Neosporin to help protect the site from secondary infections.

SAVE THE TICK. If you want to send it for testing- place it in a small sealed ziplock bag with a very slightly damp cotton ball (not wet). Keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to ship it. Remember- testing a tick does not guarantee the organisms will be detected. NEVER wait for the results to come back before being treated.

DO NOT WAIT. Do NOT wait for a rash to appear (less than 40% of people bitten report a rash and less than 10% of children nationwide have a rash). Do NOT wait for the disease to spread and cause symptoms.

Treat the bite as soon as possible!

ONE DOSE OF DOXYCYCLINE? FORGET IT! The one dose of Doxycycline (antibiotic) theory- which some health care professionals may try to pass off as curative- has not shown to be effective in many, many cases and several studies have since disproven this "old wives tale".

TAKE TICK WITH YOU TO THE DOCTORS. Some medical professionals will insist on seeing the tick. You need to know that it doesn't matter what kind of tick bit you, they all carry many diseases. For example, Lyme disease isn't only found in deer ticks and RMSF isn't just in lone star ticks as some may try to tell you. Deer ticks have recently been found to harbor 93 different microorganisms.

EARLY TREATMENT IS YOUR BEST DEFENSE. Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Mycoplasma and STARI are some of the many diseases ticks can carry. Doxycycline, prescribed for an adequate length of time, is the preferred treatment (barring any contra-indicators) for adults as it will address most of the infections you may be exposed to when bitten. Young children may need to be treated with a different antibiotic due to their age and potential side effects.

One page document you can print and take to your doctor listing

Treatment Protocols for Adults and Children

Get It Right, Treat The Bite site.

Find it Here

TAKE ALL PRESCRIBED MEDICATIONS EVEN IF YOU FEEL FINE. When taking doxycycline (and other antibiotics) ask your doctor if you can take it with food rather than on an empty stomach. To help prevent a yeast infection and continued good digestive health, taking a good quality pro-biotic can help. Caution- avoid sun exposure while on antibiotics (some worse than others). Sunburns can be very bad to extreme. Read all literature that comes with your prescribed medications and if you have questions contact your pharmacist. Avoid using calcium products (milk, cheese, supplements including Tums, Rolaids, etc) when taking your antibiotics as they tend to decrease the ability of the antibiotic to be absorbed.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS. Note to women- antibiotics may reduce the effectiveness of birth control, so you may want to consider using additional precautions. Some outdated medical literature reports Lyme can not be transmitted from person to person. When asked, the Health Department has stated Lyme can not be sexually transmitted because "there has not been a documented case". The studies have since been performed which confirmed that Lyme disease can be sexually transmitted.

The spirochetes that cause Lyme disease are similar to the ones that cause syphilis. Spirochetes have been detected in semen, the uterus, breast milk, blood and other body fluids. Front-line physicians who treat many Lyme patients often will test sexual partners who become ill with Lyme disease and will treat partners to prevent the possibility of back-and-forth transmission that can occur.

From the Treatment Guidelines (Dr. Joseph Burrascano)

TICK BITES - Embedded Deer Tick With No Signs or Symptoms of Lyme (see appendix):

Decide to treat based on the type of tick, whether it came from an endemic area, how it was removed, and length of attachment (anecdotally, as little as four hours of attachment can transmit pathogens).

The risk of transmission is greater if the tick is engorged, or of it was removed improperly allowing the tick's contents to spill into the bite wound. High-risk bites are treated as follows (remember the possibility of co-infection!):

1) Adults: Oral therapy for 28 days.

2) Pregnancy: Amoxicillin 1000 mg q6h for 6 weeks. Test for Babesia, Bartonella and Ehrlichia.

Alternative: Cefuroxime axetil 1000 mg q12h for 6 weeks.

3) Young Children: Oral therapy for 28 days.

EARLY LOCALIZED - Single erythema migrans with no constitutional symptoms:

1) Adults: oral therapy- must continue until symptom and sign free for at least one month, with a 6 week minimum.

2) Pregnancy: 1st and 2nd trimesters: I.V. X 30 days then oral X 6 weeks 3rd trimester: Oral therapy X 6+ weeks as above. Any trimester- test for Babesia and Ehrlichia

3) Children: oral therapy for 6+ weeks.

To see the Lyme Disease Treatment Guidelines

Click Here

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