My first of the season: Tick bite, and prevention

I discovered a tick on myself last week and curious how it managed to latch onto my ear as I had not been “in the weeds” for days. I can only think it got on me through my rummaging through plants at the garden center. It may have hitched a ride to the garden center from wherever they brought the plants. Our dog is an indoor dog and she is on a leash as we take her outside for potty duties, so I don’t think she could have gotten into any grasses with ticks, but it’s a possibility.

Once I pulled it off, I wanted to save it to identify it. I had an unused contact lens case that was perfect. I got it in and covered it with alcohol. I wanted to know what kind it was so I found a cool website here

They also want people to report tick encounters. I was able to answer a couple of questions, such as person or pet bitten, date, location in US, etc., and then I took a picture of my little menace and I should hear back from them what it is. It just didn’t look like any in our area. There is an interactive map; click on the region you’re in and it pops up photos of the most common ticks in various life stages for identification.

I am reading through the website on tick prevention with ways to treat clothes, treating yards and gardens, and also pets.

In the meantime, a day or so late my ear became swollen and tender into my jaw and neck, but not running any fever, and so to rule out any serious issues, I went to the clinic, and brought the tick with me I had put in alcohol in a contact lens case to preserve it. Before I closed the lid I took a picture of it in case it needed to be examined. The doctor wanted to see the tick and determined it was not any kind that would carry Lyme disease, but just to eliminate any chance of serious infection he prescribed an antibiotic I am not allergic to (I have severe allergy to Sulfa, so that ruled out the first drug he intended to prescribe) and I am on it for ten days. He said this happens to be the exact drug they use for Lyme disease, and as I was reading through the drug informational pamphlet, it is also used to protect against mosquito borne Malaria.

We all tramped down to the pond this weekend and fished and we all checked for ticks when we got back; I wore a hat, which I always do going outside, long pants tucked into tall socks and wearing tall Wellies. I should have also worn long sleeves and not short sleeves. Prevention is worth the time to spray clothing, skin and wear protective clothing. There is even clothing you can buy that is coated with tick protection that is good through multiple washings I have spent many more hours in discomfort and inconvenience than it would take to put on protective clothing and spray. Here is a good post-outdoor inspection check list at this website

After returning indoors

Immediately perform a careful tick check. Deer ticks are tiny and difficult to see. If possible, have someone else inspect you. Be sure to check your hairline and were clothes fit tightly. Parents should check children. Shower promptly using a washcloth to remove unattached ticks. Remove attached ticks immediately using fine pointed tweezers or tick-removal tool. Grasp tick close to the skin, pull gently straight out. Do not use petroleum jelly, alcohol, soap, lit match or cigarette as this might cause the tick to regurgitate Lyme bacteria into you. Save tick in a plastic bag or vial with a moistened cotton ball for identification and possible testing. After removing the tick, call your doctor promptly and consider requesting immediate antibiotic treatment. If the tick is infected, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is key to recovery. Delay will allow the infection to disseminate in the body where treatment is often less effective.

Consider keeping outdoor clothes in the garage or shed as ticks can migrate from clothing brought indoors and invade the home. You can also wash and dry your clothes immediately. Some people put the clothes in a trash bag then spray with permethrin and tie up the bag to kill the ticks before washing. Washing alone will not kill ticks, but a 30-minute hot cycle in a dryer will.


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