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Old 03-19-2009, 02:30 PM   #1
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Default Deer Ticks: What do YOU do?

I live near woods and live on farmland. I find a lot of deer ticks on me. Every time I find one my girlfriend insists, begs me to call my doctor. I call him and he calls in a prescription. My question is who else finds a lot of deer ticks on them (biting) and what do you do about it? Do you call your doctor every time and he writes a prescription every time? Do you wait to see if you get the bull’s-eye rings and if not just forget about it?

I am really getting tired of calling him every time I find a tick biting me, but I don't want lyme disease either. I know you don't get the rings every time and I know if you get them off you right away there is little chance of getting it, but I am still curious what everyone else does and if anyone ever ignored them and were sorry later. As a kid we had ticks on us all the time and never once do I remember doing anything but pull them off.

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Old 03-19-2009, 02:34 PM   #2
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I've only had a couple of ticks. I carefully pull them off with tweezers so that they release, wash the bite, and just keep an eye on it.

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Old 03-19-2009, 02:36 PM   #3
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I worked on small mammals in fields/woods for 2 years and had countless deer ticks on me over time. I never once called the doctor. My colleague actually studied Lyme disease in ticks, and she would have whole nests of ticks explode on her. Never called a doctor.

IIRC, the tick has to be attached for at least 24-36 hours before transmission of the bacteria can occur. So, as long as you're checking yourself daily (or whenever you go out), you should be fine. Just check carefully. I have freckles that are bigger than those suckers.

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Old 03-19-2009, 02:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgln View Post
I live near woods and live on farmland. I find a lot of deer ticks on me. Every time I find one my girlfriend insists, begs me to call my doctor. I call him and he calls in a prescription. My question is who else finds a lot of deer ticks on them (biting) and what do you do about it? Do you call your doctor every time and he writes a prescription every time? Do you wait to see if you get the bull’s-eye rings and if not just forget about it?

I am really getting tired of calling him every time I find a tick biting me, but I don't want lyme disease either. I know you don't get the rings every time and I know if you get them off you right away there is little chance of getting it, but I am still curious what everyone else does and if anyone ever ignored them and were sorry later. As a kid we had ticks on us all the time and never once do I remember doing anything but pull them off.
I am not a doctor, however, I would wait to get a perscription until you see signs of lime disease (red "bullseye" around the site, not feeling well afterwards, ect.) You need to be very careful when taking antibiotics unnecessarily. Your body builds up immunity to them and if/when you really need them they may be less effective. I would ask a doctor what they think but it seems like your doctor (among many other doctors) may giving away antibiotics too easily.
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Old 03-19-2009, 03:05 PM   #5
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Here is what the CDC has to say about treatment of Lyme
Chapter 4 - Lyme Disease - Yellow Book | CDC Travelers' Health

Quote:
Prevention

Travelers to endemic areas should be advised to avoid tick habitats if possible. If exposure to tick habitats cannot be avoided, the application of repellents to skin and acaricides to clothing can reduce the risk of infection, as can daily tick checks and prompt removal of any attached ticks (see Chapter 2). Remove ticks by grasping them firmly with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and lifting gently.
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Treatment

Travelers who have erythema chronicum migrans or other manifestations of Lyme disease should be advised to seek early medical attention. In general, it should not be necessary to seek care from a specialist in travel or topical medicine. Lyme disease can usually be cured by an appropriate course of antibiotic treatment (7).
I would have to agree with the unnecessary application of antibiotics. If you become resistant then I can't imagine the problems with treating Lyme disease if you do become infected.
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Old 03-19-2009, 03:11 PM   #6
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I just found a tick on my arm yesterday and it didn't look like a deer tick but it was small. I took a walk in the yard the day before so I am guessing that is when I got it but who knows. It made quite a bite mark and the area is sore and red for about 1/4" but not a ring.
I agree, I can't be going through this every time I find a tick on me. Maybe I should not mention them to her.

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Old 03-19-2009, 03:17 PM   #7
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I just found a tick on my arm yesterday and it didn't look like a deer tick but it was small.
You may also be dealing with American dog ticks or Lone Star ticks, which in nymph form are closer in size to deer ticks. They also can transmit diseases as well (Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia), so just keep tabs on where you pulled them from and how you feel.
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Old 03-19-2009, 03:19 PM   #8
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You may also be dealing with American dog ticks or Lone Star ticks, which in nymph form are closer in size to deer ticks. They also can transmit diseases as well (Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia), so just keep tabs on where you pulled them from and how you feel.
We have a dog who has been getting a lot of ticks lately.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:18 PM   #9
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jmulligan is spot-on here. I've studied zoonoses and ticks and also worked in public health. Deer ticks are the big ones for Lyme disease, but ticks in general can transmit a number of bacterial diseases, so the best thing to do is prevention (DEET and tucking pants into boots/socks).

The bullseye rash does not always appear and should not be used as a gauge for taking antibiotics (unless, of course, you have a bullseye rash). However, removing deer ticks within 24 hours leaves your chances of contracting Lyme disease virtually nil. It's really more like 48 hours. This has been reduced to 24 likely because some individual out of a million (figuratively speaking) contracted Lyme disease after the 24 hour mark and it's better safe than sorry to go lower on the timeframe.

In addition to how long the tick has been attached, the risk of contracting a tick-borne disease increases further into the summer. Ticks go through 4 life-stages: egg, larva, nymph, adult. In the nymph stage they go through several "instars" (amount varies with species). They grow/molt with every instar and as they grow they feed on a number of different animals (often birds). With the increased feeding, the chance of the tick carrying bacteria that can cause diseases in humans increases.

Frankly, I think it's irresponsible for a doctor to issue a prescription for antibiotics for Lyme disease based on a phone call and without asking for a time frame of the tick bite. But I guess in today's litigious culture, he's playing 'better-safe-than-sorry' too.

The best thing to do is do tick checks every day you may be exposed to them (check all those nooks and crannies!). Pull them off with just a pair a tweezers (no oil, soap, etc.). Grab the tick with the tweezers as close as you can to the head and apply an even outward pressure for a minute or two. The tick will lose the strength to grip and eventually let go. Then burn it to death because ticks are so evil. Apply 70% isopropyl alcohol to the bite area.

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Old 03-19-2009, 05:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
jmulligan is spot-on here. I've studied zoonoses and ticks and also worked in public health. Deer ticks are the big ones for Lyme disease, but ticks in general can transmit a number of bacterial diseases, so the best thing to do is prevention (DEET and tucking pants into boots/socks).

The bullseye rash does not always appear and should not be used as a gauge for taking antibiotics (unless, of course, you have a bullseye rash). However, removing deer ticks within 24 hours leaves your chances of contracting Lyme disease virtually nil. It's really more like 48 hours. This has been reduced to 24 likely because some individual out of a million (figuratively speaking) contracted Lyme disease after the 24 hour mark and it's better safe than sorry to go lower on the timeframe.

In addition to how long the tick has been attached, the risk of contracting a tick-borne disease increases further into the summer. Ticks go through 4 life-stages: egg, larva, nymph, adult. In the nymph stage they go through several "instars" (amount varies with species). They grow/molt with every instar and as they grow they feed on a number of different animals (often birds). With the increased feeding, the chance of the tick carrying bacteria that can cause diseases in humans increases.

Frankly, I think it's irresponsible for a doctor to issue a prescription for antibiotics for Lyme disease based on a phone call and without asking for a time frame of the tick bite. But I guess in today's litigious culture, he's playing 'better-safe-than-sorry' too.

The best thing to do is do tick checks every day you may be exposed to them (check all those nooks and crannies!). Pull them off with just a pair a tweezers (no oil, soap, etc.). Grab the tick with the tweezers as close as you can to the head and apply an even outward pressure for a minute or two. The tick will lose the strength to grip and eventually let go. Then burn it to death because ticks are so evil. Apply 70% isopropyl alcohol to the bite area.

Hey thanks for the really detailed reply and information. I called the Dr. and they took a message for him. Unless I want to get into a REALLY big argument with my girlfriend I am going to see what she says this time. Like I said, maybe I won't tell her every time I find a tick on me from now on. This one though really left a mark and is sore so I will be keeping an eye on the bite.
I found it yesterday morning but because of the spot and being alone at the time it looks like the head remained in there until I got home and she looked at it and got it out. So it was probably well past 24hrs if you count that time.

Thanks!
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