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Tick Bite Advice
updated: Feb 09, 2013, 11:14 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

I saved the tick that was gorging on my blood in the middle of the night, and it looks like an ixodes pacificus, the desease carrying one. I have a sore spot the diameter of my pinky. I am thinking of going to emergency as it is a saturday and my doctor is out of town. I read i should be treated with antibiotics within 72 hr of the bite. Anybody has Any experience with this?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 11:22 AM

Don't have experience but it wouldn't hurt to have a dr look at it and give you some anti-biotics.


 PAMSB agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 11:24 AM

In the exact words of one of the frequent visitors here: Emergency room, now, dude. Confirmed, brah.

Really, get it looked at ASAP. Don't take chances with your health. Prayers and good thoughts go out to you!


 COMMENT 372585P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 11:34 AM

I had a tick bite once. I was surprised how sore it was. The doctor told me that it takes about 36 hours(?) to transmit Lyme which is what I was worried about (this was back east). Please seek medical advice, but don't panic about it if the tick was not on you for a long time. Good luck!


 COMMENT 372586 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 11:38 AM

The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which causes Lyme Disease is carried in the abdomen of a tick. If the tick is removed quickly and properly (using narrow tweezers to grasp the head and pull straight out) the chances of getting Lyme Disease are low. However if the tick is allowed to swell up (from your blood) or if the abdomen is squeezed during removal, there is a greater chance of the bacterium infecting you. After you have been bitten a small sore spot will always occur. Once removed always cleanse the site with an antiseptic. A trip to the doctor might be a good idea too.


 COMMENT 372589 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 11:47 AM

Save the tick if you go to the doc. That way they test the tick and not you.


 COMMENT 372598 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 12:37 PM

There is some debate as to whether Lyme disease has reached this far West, but to be on the safe side you might want to rule it out at some point.

I have been bitten (tick attached) close to a dozen times over 30+ years of hiking in Los Padres N.F. and our dogs have had 1000's of ticks removed over the years. None of us has suffered any illness (so far).

Good luck, hope everything turns out well.


 COMMENT 372599 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 12:37 PM

If you have it all out you're likely fine. If you see a bullseye shaped pattern of inflammation developing around it, go to the doctor. If the tick is all out and the wound is clean there is nothing the doctor can do now, that can she can't do later.


 CHERPLAN agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 12:46 PM

A new bacterium carried by ticks was identified in Northern California. Not sure if it has reached Central California. As others have said your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics. Lyme disease is not something you want to have.


 COMMENT 372601 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 12:50 PM

Like Aquaholic, I have been bitten many times over the years. The bite is annoying but there have been no long term effects. Some years years have a heavy infestation of ticks and we find a couple every day after our morning walk. The local ticks are usually not disease carriers. However you are worried, so you should get it checked by a professional.


 COMMENT 372603 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 01:05 PM

Going to the doctor certainly won't make things worse. No reason not to go.


 COMMENT 372605 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 01:25 PM

It is wrong to say there is no tick-borne illness here. I am aware of at least two people who got Lyme disease locally. I have also read that not everyone gets a rash from the tick bite. If treated quickly, you have less to worry about. Not sure how quickly is quickly, though. Failure to treat Lyme disease in timely fashion can result in lifelong, debilitating set of symptoms. Please get medical advice and make sure you see a doctor who does not pooh-pooh the reality of Lyme disease locally or Lyme disease altogether. It is an area of controversy among the medical experts.


 BECKY agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 01:29 PM

I am unsure if a red ring around the bite site is always or usually present with a day or two of a tick bite transmitting Lyme disease, but it is the symptom to look for. When I developed such a ring post bite -- here, about 15 years ago -- the doc and I mutually decided to play it safe and did a round of antibiotics as if it were Lyme disease. I've had lots of other tick bites, and only had this distinctive ring and sought antibiotics that one time. There's a picture of what it looked like here: http://www.medicinenet.com/lyme_disease/article.htm


 COMMENT 372610P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 01:38 PM

Best advice - either nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Room. Don't take medical advice from non-professionals like me! Better safe than sorry is my motto.


 COMMENT 372614 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 01:42 PM

Man, I always search for ticks during and after hikes in the hills. I have brushed dozens off, but never bitten.


 COMMENT 372654 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 04:15 PM

There's no real debate about Lyme disease being in this general area. It's been diagnosed since the 1970's. However, the odds are not great for a tick bite here to be that of a Lyme-disease-carrying tick.

And, Becky, a ring is not always present. I've had Lyme disease twice in coastal Massachusetts where it is endemic. No big deal. Taken care of by antibiotics. The first time there was a ring; the second not. Indeed, if you have flu-like symptoms that are not the flu and let it go on for months and months, there can be serious effects, but for most people not so.


 RICHYRICH agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 04:35 PM

I've been living in the foothills with dogs all my life, bitten many times. Alive and well. I'll live with ticks anyday over fleas. Fleas don't like the high country. Come home from a hike, change your clothes, take a shower and give yourself a good rub-down.


 COMMENT 372664 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 05:13 PM

Like any bite or puncture wound, there is always the risk of infection from something on the skin entering the bloodstream through the opening. A friend got a staph infection from an a relatively innocuous bee sting. Yes, naysayers, the doctor verified it was staph and it took specific antibiotics to clear up. If the area around the bite gets redder, larger, or hot or you start to feel feverish, seek medical attention. Can't hurt to do that anyway if you have insurance to cover it. (Many people can't afford a trip to urgent care or the ER.) I was stung by a local scorpion on the foot and had it checked after it hurt and swelled and was red for a couple of days. No infection, just normal reaction, had to ride it out. Glad I had it checked, though!


 COMMENT 372684 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 06:29 PM

For those who have had tick bites ... how did you get the tick out? Or did it leave on its own?

I've found ticks on me after hiking/biking but have not had one burrow in me yet.


 COMMENT 372687P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 06:32 PM

Contact ILADS - International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (my choice), affiliated w/Columbia Univ. researcher Dr. Brian Fallon, or other LD organization for a referral to an MD or other medical professional familiar with LD. Don't plan on locating any knowledgeable practitioner in the SB area, and don't act on the advice of any who claim to be - rely only on those associated with LD research/treatment protocols, do your own online research, use only recommended labs for testing. The punch line here is that it's not really LD, it's SBD. The first acknowledged infection by borrellia burgdorferi spirochete was based on a cluster of patients in Lyme, Conn. in 1975, hence the name LD. The deer tick bite I got at the Trout Club predated this by 2 years - March 1973. The hot, swollen bulls-eye rash was so bizarre I went to Goleta Valley ER several hours later. I have a receipt with billing codes for MD, surgical tray, antibiotics, etc, and GVH records staff have looked at my receipt on 2 occasions and told me I wasn't at the ER on the receipt date because my name is not on the ER sign-in sheet. Both times were years after the bite - I didn't know what caused the rash until the NP published a front page photo in 1988. The link below leads to an article on the results of the Connecticut attorney general's investigation and helps explain the confusion about LD diagnosis and treatment:
(abstract) In 2006 the Connecticut Attorney General launched an antitrust investigation into the Lyme guidelines development process of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). In a recent settlement with IDSA, the Attorney General noted important commercial conflicts of interest and suppression of scientific evidence that had tainted the guidelines process. This paper explores two broad ethical themes that influenced the IDSA investigation. The first is the growing problem of conflicts of interest among guidelines developers, and the second is the increasing centralisation of medical decisions by insurance companies, which use treatment guidelines as a means of controlling the practices of individual doctors and denying treatment for patients. The implications of the first-ever antitrust investigation of medical guidelines and the proposed model to remediate the tainted IDSA guidelines process are also discussed.


 COMMENT 372747 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-09 08:42 PM

Thank you all for your wonderful advice!
I called my doctor just in case, and she returned my call immediately on a saturday morning!
She prescribed 200 mgs of antibiotics to be taken in 4 hours time.
While the redness Around the bite was about 1" in diameter this morning, it is about 3" tonight.
I understand that the redness and orchard might Take a few days to subside. Now i'll make sure to inspect my clothes every time i come in from the great outdoors!
Thank you edhatters!


 COMMENT 372764P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-10 12:36 AM


ehow has this nice little recipe for natural repellent. Ticks apparently dislike rose geranium oil and lavender oil. Make yourself some repellent and then use it. Be sure and check for ticks anyway, after your hikes. But this repellent should keep you tick-free.


 COMMENT 372782 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-10 06:58 AM

Did the doctor see the bite before prescribing antibiotics? If so, who was it? The AMA would like to know.


 COMMENT 372796P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-10 08:14 AM

I don't know of one confirmed case of lime desease in SB. When you get a tick just twist it counterclockwise and pull it out.Of course it's going to leave a red mark for a few days. The odds of getting something bad are almost zero.


 COMMENT 372802P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-10 08:32 AM

Excuse me I stand corrected, do not twist the tick counterclockwise . Get a pair of good tweezers and grab at the base ( make sure you get the base not just the body) and give it a god tug. Put some hydrogen peroxide on it. If it gets infected of course go to the doctor.


 COMMENT 372804P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-10 08:36 AM

Glad you called your doctor. That was the right decision. You know that whatever she recommends will be based on medical training and experience. The recommendations here are mostly anecdotal, informed only by what happened to cousin Jimmy when he had a tick bite a few years back.

Better safe than sorry when it's as potentially serious as Lyme disease.


 COMMENT 372815 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-10 09:29 AM

The emergency room is not the only alternative to your private doctor ... there are various urgent care clinics. And your doctor should have an emergency number you can call when s/he is unavailable.


 COMMENT 372823 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-10 10:20 AM

you could have saved time and got more information by googling it. But I guess people need something to do and talk about.


 COMMENT 372842 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-10 11:17 AM

Lyme desease is not the only desease carried by ticks. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is also carried by ticks and is present in the western U.S. Having had dogs and camping out when younger in local mountains I too have had tick "bites" (probably not the best way to describe the boring and leaching activity of ticks) Removal is an art and I found gently pulling combined with 2 to 3 complete counterclockwise turns works best. (the ticks bore into skin clockwise) Areas to more closely check for ticks are areas where the clothing is tighter because the ticks use their legs pushing against clothing for leverage to bore into skin. On animals it is their fur.


 COMMENT 373268 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 12:29 PM

While gardening, I was bit by a tick within SB city limits and had the classic symptoms within 3 weeks. My (ex) doc misdiagnosed it and it went into chronic Lyme Disease. My positive blood test is registered with the county health dept. I'm now in my second year of anti-biotic treatment which might have been avoided with a post-bite 10-day treatment of doxycycline. A reliable blood test for humans and ticks is by 'IGeneX'. See a LLMD (lyme literate medical doctor) if you suspect long-term infection. Lyme is in every state and is the 3rd fastest spreading disease in the US (1st vector borne disease). CDC estimates 300,000 new cases each year. It's under-reported and SB health department doesn't have the funding to do outreach so please tell your friends that Lyme Disease is in Santa Barbara. Become familiar with the prevention and symptoms at ILADS.org.


 COMMENT 373683 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:03 AM

On a side note, I took doxycycline for something recently and it made me severely sun sensitive. I got badly sunburned after an afternoon of gardening with a large hat on.

So if you take that particular antibiotic, be careful in the sun.


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