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TrueColours
Jun. 25, 2010, 07:25 AM
Had no idea what the damned thing was until I rubbed it off with a towel into the sink (I thought it was a scab or something that was just starting to come off ...) and it grew legs and started to move ...

Ive stuck it in a bottle with a wet piece of paper towel in there and am calling the Public Health Unit up this morning once they open

After reading through the Chronic Lyme thread last night and freaking out, I am at least now armed with questions and have some knowledge of what is and isnt the proper course of treatment

I did get to speak to a nurse on a 24 hour health hotline last night and she said that most ticks dont carry Lyme and I shouldnt worry too much. Is that correct? Do I only worry if I develop the bulls eye rash? Or if I start to get the symptoms weeks/months/years down the road? Or do I aggressively start to treat it now? Staying on heavy duty antibiotics for months isnt my idea of fun either, but if its going to stave off having something acute going chronic, I am more than willing to do so

Do they test the ticks or not even bother?

What is the most intelligent plan of action for me to take at this stage?

Thanks so much ...

MistyBlue
Jun. 25, 2010, 07:54 AM
Was the tick bloated? (round fat balloon body)
What color was the body?
What size was it?

Deer ticks are very very small. When not bloated they're the size of a dot made on paper with a pen, maybe slightly larger. When bloated they're about the size of a pinhead.

When not bloated their bodies are tan/brown with a darker spot towards the head and when bloated they're mostly a beige/tan color.

Deer ticks are the ones that carry diseases the most, however other ticks can also carry diseases. However most ticks do not carry diseases. Being outside and around animals often means you will find ticks on you from time to time. Most of the time it'll be just a tick bite, nothing else.

Keep an eye on the bite sight for any signs of reaction...such as large swelling, area becomes tight/warm, discoloration or bullseye marks. If so, go to the doctors. They may test you, they may not and just start antibiotics. Normal round is 30 days, it's not that bad. Just take Pepcid and chew antacids. ;)

But if the site just gets a normal bug-bite lump and itches...or stings slightly when scratched...that's normal wiith an arachnid bite.

To keep the tick to identify later, drop it in a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Kills the tick. If you'd like, take a photo of the tick and post it or PM me the picture and I'll let you know what kind of tick it probably is. I'm petty goood at identifying ticks...being a rehabber means I see (and get bit by) a LOT of ticks.

Most importantly...try to ignore the squicky heebie jeebie feeling you're probably having right now. :winkgrin:

TrueColours
Jun. 25, 2010, 08:02 AM
Tick was definately bloated when it was on me and about 2-3 times larger than it is now sitting in my bottle. It never went that tan colour - it stayed dark when it was on me. Its black and looks like

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/tickinfo-eng.php

Figure 3 - the one on the far right side

Its about 1/8th inch long - probably about twice the size of a flax seed??? (and it looks like a flax seed with 4 legs on each side!)

Okay - so unless I do get a reaction, I dont need to see a doctor or flip out over this at all???

Thanks so much MB!!! :)

twofatponies
Jun. 25, 2010, 08:11 AM
Personally I'd wait until/if you get a fever/re-swelling at the bite site/feel like you have the flu, somewhere within the next 10-12 days or so. I've been bitten a dozen times in my life, never had a problem except one: that one my knee swelled up and was so painful I couldn't walk, I felt like I had the flu coming on, I had a fever, and I went straight to the doctor and did the 30 days of antibiotics. Cleared it up right away.

sahara511
Jun. 25, 2010, 08:26 AM
I pulled a tick off of myself last summer and went to the doctor that day. One of the first things he told me was that not everyone will get a rash or bulls eye at the bite site - you can be infected with Lymes and never see a bulls eye so it's best not to wait around for one.
I didn't save the tick so it couldn't be tested, which wasn't the end of the world either, doc said those tests (like all I suppose) aren't 100% perfect. There is an antibiotic the doctor gave me that he said was 99% effective in wiping out the bacteria if you were infected, and the sooner you took it the better. It was literally a one-time antibiotic, just 1 pill (sorry I cant remember what it's called). He said better to take that right away then wait weeks for test results that could be inconclusive. The longer you wait and do nothing, the harder you have to work and the more antibiotics you have to take to try to get rid of Lymes if you do end up having it.

MistyBlue
Jun. 25, 2010, 09:13 AM
sahara is correct...not everyone will get the bullseye rash. Some will get just a lump or heat in the site. Some won't have much of a reaction at all.

There isn't a need to freak out usually at the time of a tick bite. Just like some mosquitos carry all sorts of illnesses, we don't panic at every mosquito bite.

But it is a good idea to keep an eye on the bite site...and to see if you feel like you've caught a cold anytime in the near future.

Some folks will feel symptoms faster, others not as fast. It usually starts with flu or cold like problems within 2 days to 2 weeks after the bite. Common symptoms are:
More tired than normal; either sleepy-tired or physically tired/sluggish or both
Slight fever; some never get a fever but many do and it's a slight one usually. Not spiking a high one, just a slight rise in temp which is the body recognizing the new problem.
Some body aches...and it doesn't always start out in the joints. IT could be regular muscle aches too. And usually travelling aches...like your legs are a bit tired/aching in the morning and your lower back afternoon and your elbows by evening.

If you just feel "off" or muzzy in the next couple of weeks, I'd go to the doctors and tell them you want to be tested. Save the tick, you can freeze it in a ziploc. And it's not a bad idea to call the doctor's office now and explain that you've had a tick bite, you have the tick and are waiting to see if you feel any symptoms. Just as a head's up or in case the doctor wants you to come in now anyways.

There are false negative and false positive tests often with various tick borne diseases. False negatives because it might not show up in the blood for some time after a bite and false positives because if you live in a high Lyme area you've probably been exposed to it already anyways without knowing. High risk folks are usually put on doxy for 30 days with a known bite and either result test.

deltawave
Jun. 25, 2010, 09:14 AM
Gosh, not every tick carries Lyme disease! Don't flip out. Pay attention to how you feel. Watch for rash or fever, and call the doctor if you develop either.

ChocoMare
Jun. 25, 2010, 09:22 AM
Ditto to Delta.. also see doc if you spike a HIGH fever and/or have diarrhea that won't stop.

Hubby caught ehrlicchia from a tick 5 years ago.

dalpal
Jun. 25, 2010, 09:33 AM
Gosh, not every tick carries Lyme disease! Don't flip out. Pay attention to how you feel. Watch for rash or fever, and call the doctor if you develop either.

Yep..don't panic...I pulled about 10 off of me throughout this past spring and other than an annoying itchy bump afterwards...nothing happened. Just mark on your calendar as to when you pulled it off....if you start having symptoms, go to your doctor. Doxy is the antibotic of choice for tick borne illnesses.

LLDM
Jun. 25, 2010, 09:35 AM
If you are that freaked out about it, go get some antibiotics. It is so early in the process that one 3 week course is going to work just fine.

I was diagnosed with Lyme last year - and while it took a couple rounds of antibiotics, I am symptom free now. I did have many and various symptoms, including Lyme arthritis in one knee quite badly. But never got a rash and never had fatigue issues - so all manifestations are different.

I only had Lyme's for about 1 & 1/2 years before it was diagnosed, so I was lucky. It generally doesn't get bad unless it goes undiagnosed for a very long time - which unfortunately happens a fairly often.

But don't get overly paranoid at this point. It is eminently curable/preventable this early on. There are blood tests that catch most Lyme infections & the regular labs are getting better at testing for it. So get tested after your done with the ABs and see where you're at.

Good Luck

SCFarm

Kate66
Jun. 25, 2010, 09:54 AM
Seriously - don't worry.

It's a bit like worrying if a mosquito bites you, you are going to get West Nile Virus. As a kid we used to take ticks off us almost on a daily basis. We don't have many on our home farm, but at the other farm we have been renovating we pull them off us all the time and I don't really give it a second thought.

deltawave
Jun. 25, 2010, 10:09 AM
If you are that freaked out about it, go get some antibiotics.

Only if you have a medical license. The odds of an allergic reaction, nasty yeast infection, or contributing to the general pool of resistant bacteria are probably higher than the odds of Lyme disease from a single tick bite. They are not innocuous and should not "just" be given willy-nilly.

millerra
Jun. 25, 2010, 10:16 AM
Well, assuming I read your description correctly: 1/8" long and not tan yet = not a deer tick. Just a plain ol' regular tick.

Rip its head off and toss it the toilet and think nothing more of it.

I live in a tick area - pulled more off me, the horses, kids and dogs then I can ever remember. It 99.9 % of the time a non-issue - except for the heebie jeebies. (I hate waking up in the middle of the night feeling a tick moving. YUCK.)

katarine
Jun. 25, 2010, 10:55 AM
Ticks happen.

Throw it in the freezer in a ziplock with today's date. That way you won't confuse it with the one you find tomorrow :)

SonnysMom
Jun. 25, 2010, 01:48 PM
I recently was in the hospital for what the doctors are pretty sure was Lyme Disease.
Started as a stiff neck Sun AM and Mon AM when I woke up but ibuprophen took care of that. I also had a small rash but not a bulls eye on the nape of my neck, about the size of a large man's thumb print.

3 AM Tues morning I woke up virtually unable to move my neck and the worst headache. Took a migrain medicine that has a muscle relaxer in it and went to work and hour away. I made a chiro appointment for 2 pm.

At about noon if figured out I was running a fever. Drove myself to the ER, yep 102 degree fever.

They did a lumbar puncture to rule out spinal meningitis. All other tests and cultures including the Lyme test came back negative. Doctors think I had not yet seroconverted so it was a false negative.

The infectious disease doctor put me on doxycycline for a total of 12 days and I recovered just fine. The infectious disease doctor mentioned that a study released recently indicted that one dose of doxycline early enough can cure/prevent 85% of Lyme. I believe he said it was in the NE Journal of Medicine.

Therefore if it is a deer tick you may at least want to call your doctor to at least see what he thinks.

theoldgreymare
Jun. 25, 2010, 02:41 PM
If you should become symptomatic, be sure and find a Lyme Literate Doctor (LLD) or Infectious Disease Specialist. Most MD's do not have the knowledge to treat LD and will treat according to the CDC or IDSA's latest recommendation (which often is not what Lyme specialists and researchers recommend). If you have blood work done be sure and have a complete tick panel run, not just LD. Ticks commonly carry multipiple co-infections so if you test + for another co-infection there is a good chance you have LD as well, despite neg results. LD should be a clinical diagnosis.

Sonnysmom.....did they test you for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever when you were in the hospital? Symptoms sound very similar to the case I had in '94 (migraine, rash, fever). Because my rash was small and did not fall into the typical RMSF pattern it was dismissed as a cause (depsite the fact that I told Dr. my dog was just diagnosed with RMSF). Only when my fever reached 105 and I was convulsing in ICU did anyone listen to me. Treatment then was 7 days of IV doxy.

dalpal
Jun. 25, 2010, 04:29 PM
Only if you have a medical license. The odds of an allergic reaction, nasty yeast infection, or contributing to the general pool of resistant bacteria are probably higher than the odds of Lyme disease from a single tick bite. They are not innocuous and should not "just" be given willy-nilly.

:yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes::yes:

Riley0522
Jun. 25, 2010, 05:31 PM
Only if you have a medical license. The odds of an allergic reaction, nasty yeast infection, or contributing to the general pool of resistant bacteria are probably higher than the odds of Lyme disease from a single tick bite. They are not innocuous and should not "just" be given willy-nilly.

This. I would never take antibiotics just because I was worried, they're not like Tylenol and can have way worse side effects than Lyme disease.

I've been bitten by a million ticks, deer and dog and have yet to contract Lyme disease. I grew up in the south and loved playing in long grass as a kid, my dad and aunt (who I spent summers with) would regularly de-tick me upon coming in every night.

I still am grossed out by ticks and would rather not get them on me!

JB
Jun. 25, 2010, 05:37 PM
If you are that freaked out about it, go get some antibiotics. It is so early in the process that one 3 week course is going to work just fine.
Not sure if Docs in Canada will just hand out antibiotics to just anyone who's been tick-bitten ;)

Besides, since most ticks, especially if they aren't deer ticks, *don't* carry Lyme, why start antbiotics if there is no infection? That line of thinking is what leads to resistance issues ;)

JB
Jun. 25, 2010, 05:41 PM
Rip its head off and toss it the toilet and think nothing more of it.
Or keep a yearly jar of a few inches of rubbing alcohol and dump 'em in there :lol:


I live in a tick area - pulled more off me, the horses, kids and dogs then I can ever remember. It 99.9 % of the time a non-issue - except for the heebie jeebies. (I hate waking up in the middle of the night feeling a tick moving. YUCK.)
You mean where you wake up wide-eyed, throw off the covers, do the heebie-jeebie dance while scooting out of bed, trying not to wake the SO and/or step on dogs/cats on the way to said alcohol jar? :lol::lol:


That way you won't confuse it with the one you find tomorrow :)
:lol::lol: Or last night's leftovers?

JSwan
Jun. 25, 2010, 06:17 PM
What is the most intelligent plan of action for me to take at this stage?



I'd say drink a glass of wine. Or three.

A tick bit you. Not Dracula.

MaresNest
Jun. 25, 2010, 07:30 PM
I agree with those saying not to freak out. Most of us here in the South have had more tick bites than we can count. And most of us have also never had Lymes Disease. So, be aware of the bite site and of your body in general, and seek medical attention if you develop symptoms of Lymes Disease. But rest assured that you are most likely fine.

*deep cleansing breaths*

MelantheLLC
Jun. 25, 2010, 08:12 PM
I had a bull's eye rash on my thigh about 12 years ago. I even took a photo of it, and told my DH that if I got sick show this photo to the doctor. I thought maybe it was an infected bite.

I never got sick. Never did anything about, never felt bad. But then about 5 years later I began to get stiff hips while driving long distances. Slowly my whole body stiffened up, like I was arthritic. It was weird.

I never thought of Lyme. But then in an organizing frenzy I came across that old photo, and suddenly it struck me. I started looking on the internet, and the bull's eye rash doesn't show up for everyone, but it's pretty much definitive when it does.

I have talked to doctors but they all poo-poo me (unfortunately I lost the photo) because I'm not in a state where Lyme is common. However at the time of the bite, I had been on a farm in Texas, where it is common.

So I kinda figure I did (do?) have it, though I never could get a doctor to test me, and it may have been the source of that odd stiffness.

However, I've been taking high doses of fish and borage oil for about 6 years now, and the stiffness went away. Who knows?

Anyway, I'd suggest going promptly to a doctor who is versed in Lyme. I don't take antibiotics for nothing, but in a case like this, I think it might well be worth doing, because you could have problems develop later.

LauraKY
Jun. 25, 2010, 09:26 PM
I'd say drink a glass of wine. Or three.

A tick bit you. Not Dracula.

As a prior resident of an area in Maryland where 80% of the tick population is estimated to be infected with not just Lyme, but Bartonella, Babesia (and American malaria) and Erlichiosis, she's allowed to be freaked. It took me and my daughter 10 years to be diagnosed, 5 years of antibiotics and thousands and thousands of dollars to be able to function fairly normally. We will never be cured. My daughter lost 4 years of her life and high school wasn't so great either due to constant illness.

OP has a right to be freaked and to ask for preventative treatment. Like almost anything, better to treat early that to wait. I'm the perfect example.

Oh, and by the way. Deer ticks are not the only carriers of tick borne diseases. Lone Star tick in the south and dog ticks.

deltawave
Jun. 25, 2010, 10:16 PM
What is American malaria, please? :confused:

TrueColours
Jun. 25, 2010, 10:55 PM
Well - here is the update from my end ...

Family doctor couldnt see me today but when I told her why I needed to see her, she said get to a walk in clinic now!

Went to the walk in clinic, he said I was the second one in that evening with a tick bite and put me on the Doxy (Vibramycin) for 7 days. Took the still alive tick that I had in a bottle and it will be sent away for testing and if it comes back positive, they will extend my Doxy prescription for 7 more days

AT the pharmacy, they said I was the 3rd person in that hour to fill the same prescription, and then went on to say how fortunate I was that I was acting that quickly as they had many many clients that didnt know they were infected, or were told to wait to see if they developed symptoms and now they were on massive rounds of antibiotics and were still not 100% and might well never be either

So - I am 100% happy with the course of action I have taken. I am not one for antibiotics or any medication for that matter unless I am dying but after reading through that chronic Lyme thread last night as I was waiting for the Tele Health nurse to come on the line, I couldnt envision being that sick and debilitated as some as the posters are mentioning and would be furious with myself if I COULD have prevented it but chose to take a "wait and see" attitude instead

And LauraKY - I am so sorry to hear what you and your daughter went through. How awful to know that you will never function at 100% as you once did before the Lyme's ... :(

LauraKY
Jun. 25, 2010, 11:06 PM
Deltawave, I tried to simplify and used incorrect terminology. Babesia is just tick borne malaria. I don't know if there are other vectors other than ticks. The same drugs to are use to treat it as regular old run of the mill, mosquito borne malaria, but for a much longer time. Once you've been infected, you can no longer donate blood or organs. Ever.

deltawave
Jun. 25, 2010, 11:26 PM
OK, got it. :) Babesiosis is similar to malaria, but not the same. The creepy-crawlies that cause them are similar but babesiosis isn't really malaria, per se--just like strangles and a strep throat are not the same, although the responsible organisms come from the same family.

kdow
Jun. 25, 2010, 11:41 PM
To minimize chances of contributing to the antibiotic resistant bacteria population problem, make sure you take the full course you're prescribed (whatever that is) according to the instructions. (I.e. with food, without food, etc.)

(Most people know this, but it is easy to forget about when you're getting to the end of a course.)

Also, not related to systemic diseases, but a reminder to everyone since we're on the subject - insect bites can just get plain old INFECTED, also. My mom just recently spent a week in the hospital on IV antibiotics because she got an infection in/under her skin due to a bug bite.

(It seemed to have gone away, as they do, then a day or two later the area was sore and tender, and she had a mild fever, and the day after that there was a big red swollen spot that was, at one point before the IV antibiotics kicked in, literally growing by an inch or more over the course of a few hours. Apparently it's something about the layer of the skin that the infection was in that there's poor circulation there so it's difficult for the immune system to deal with and also difficult to get antibiotics to, so they basically hit you with really strong stuff so that at least SOME of it has a chance to work.)

Obviously for most people they won't get infected, or if they do it will just be mild, but it's not really the sort of thing we think about that much, so sometimes a reminder to take those weird symptoms seriously is helpful.

LovelyBay
Jun. 26, 2010, 01:18 AM
As I sit here cringing while reading about other people's tick stories, I reach down to pet the puppy and find a "bump". EWww it's now swimming in my water glass until it goes rafting in the toilet... I think our frontline worked for the first month, but it doesn't appear to be killing the ticks anymore.

FalseImpression
Jun. 26, 2010, 02:28 AM
Well - here is the update from my end ...

Family doctor couldnt see me today but when I told her why I needed to see her, she said get to a walk in clinic now!

Went to the walk in clinic, he said I was the second one in that evening with a tick bite and put me on the Doxy (Vibramycin) for 7 days. Took the still alive tick that I had in a bottle and it will be sent away for testing and if it comes back positive, they will extend my Doxy prescription for 7 more days

AT the pharmacy, they said I was the 3rd person in that hour to fill the same prescription, and then went on to say how fortunate I was that I was acting that quickly as they had many many clients that didnt know they were infected, or were told to wait to see if they developed symptoms and now they were on massive rounds of antibiotics and were still not 100% and might well never be either

So - I am 100% happy with the course of action I have taken. I am not one for antibiotics or any medication for that matter unless I am dying but after reading through that chronic Lyme thread last night as I was waiting for the Tele Health nurse to come on the line, I couldnt envision being that sick and debilitated as some as the posters are mentioning and would be furious with myself if I COULD have prevented it but chose to take a "wait and see" attitude instead

And LauraKY - I am so sorry to hear what you and your daughter went through. How awful to know that you will never function at 100% as you once did before the Lyme's ... :(

Glad to know that doctors seem to be more aware now! Lyme Disease is still relatively unknown in Canada and, as a friend found out, it takes arguing with your doctor sometimes to be heard! However, since West Nile, more and more doctors are paying attention to insect borne diseases.

At least, you had one advantage: you knew you had a tick bite! So many people never know and develop symptoms much later and cannot make the connection! Good luck!

TrueColours
Jun. 26, 2010, 07:33 AM
At least, you had one advantage: you knew you had a tick bite! So many people never know and develop symptoms much later and cannot make the connection!

Exactly! And if I had rubbed it off successfully in the shower (where I thought it was just a small scab) and it went down the drain, I would have never even known thats what it was until possibly years later and never in a million years would I have made the connection between that occurence and having Lyme


Glad to know that doctors seem to be more aware now! Lyme Disease is still relatively unknown in Canada and, as a friend found out, it takes arguing with your doctor sometimes to be heard!

We live reasonably close to Port Dover which seems to be a heavily infested area. The pharmacist relayed a story of a family from 4-5 hours north visiting this area (its a very popular tourist spot), he got a tick bite, he phoned Tele Health and they asked where he was from and he said "Sudbury". She told him not to worry about it - just to watch for symptoms. He said "But we are in Port Dover - visiting - thats where I got the tick bite from" and she told him to go to a walk in clinic or Emergency right away. The pharmacist also said because of the area we are in, we are blessed (or cursed???) with doctors that actually DO know quite a bit about Lyme

MistyBlue
Jun. 26, 2010, 07:41 AM
Since I'm in CT our motto usually is "can't hurt to start Doxy before test results." :yes: I live a stone's throw from Lyme CT anyways.
There's a good chance the tick wasn't positive. Not sure about other places, but I get bit by ticks all the time and have figured out about one in every 50 ticks seems to give me Lyme. So let's hope you've got similar odds and beat those odds.
FWIW...the Doxy can be brutal on your stomach. Massive indigestion and/or acid reflux even if you're not prone to those. Stay away from spicy or greasy foods, get some yogurt, do not take on an empty stomach and start taking pepcid with antacid chews as back ups if you end up with a sour stomach. Those help a lot. Oh, and sleep on two pillows, being flat can make it worse.

LoveGirl...not to creep you out but water doesn't kill a tick. Neither does flushing. And it's not unheard of for a flushed tick to find it's way back up and out of the toilet. :eek: Either drop ticks in some rubbing alcohol or else when you find one, stick it to a piece of tape before throwiing it away. The tick can't unstick itself and come back. ;)

JSwan
Jun. 26, 2010, 09:24 AM
I live in a tick infested area and Lyme Disease is rampant too. So are other tick borne illnesses.

Still, I don't freak out when I get a tick on me.

There's simply no reason to "freak out". Panic never did anyone any good.

Educating yourself and being aware of the risk is not the same as "freaking out".

And I'd suggest she's going to get better information from the NIH, CDC or Cornell than an internet bulletin board.



As a prior resident of an area in Maryland where 80% of the tick population is estimated to be infected with not just Lyme, but Bartonella, Babesia (and American malaria) and Erlichiosis, she's allowed to be freaked.

grayarabpony
Jun. 26, 2010, 09:38 AM
This year was a really bad one for ticks. A tick bite always freaks me out because I think they're gross, but I wouldn't go to a doctor unless I developed a rash and/ or fever. DH is a family physician and if anyone comes in during the summer with fever, flu-like symptoms, and has a negative flu test it's assumed they have Lyme or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. A nickname for RMSF is Summer Flu. It's no good using titers when beginning treatment because the antibody levels often won't show up until the disease is well on its way, and not everyone gets rashes.

And no, he doesn't hand out antibiotics like it's candy. He will not give antibiotics to someone with a cold.

buck22
Jun. 26, 2010, 10:27 AM
You mean where you wake up wide-eyed, throw off the covers, do the heebie-jeebie dance while scooting out of bed, trying not to wake the SO

oh bleaaach! Two weeks ago I woke up and discovered a big dog tick in my belly button! YIKES! I levitated out of bed, and nearly fainted trying to remove it. It was really in there. I spent the next two days with a belly button filled with ichthammol and covered by a band aid... not a pleasant feeling.... but - touch wood - never swelled up, itched or became infected or irritated.

LovelyBay
Jun. 26, 2010, 12:20 PM
LoveGirl...not to creep you out but water doesn't kill a tick. Neither does flushing. And it's not unheard of for a flushed tick to find it's way back up and out of the toilet. :eek: Either drop ticks in some rubbing alcohol or else when you find one, stick it to a piece of tape before throwiing it away. The tick can't unstick itself and come back. ;)

Opps sorry I should have clarified, we squwweesh them with pliers first before we flush them. I don't like touching them with my hands, but ticks are a daily occurence this summer (mild winter) so I'm getted less heebie-jeebie from them.

But that is a good reminder for other people, you can't wash them off. For some reason people around here seem to think that if you give your dog a bath you can wash off the ticks.

LauraKY
Jun. 26, 2010, 01:53 PM
I live in a tick infested area and Lyme Disease is rampant too. So are other tick borne illnesses.

Still, I don't freak out when I get a tick on me.

There's simply no reason to "freak out". Panic never did anyone any good.

Educating yourself and being aware of the risk is not the same as "freaking out".

And I'd suggest she's going to get better information from the NIH, CDC or Cornell than an internet bulletin board.

Actually, my figures were taken from an entomologist attached to Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

And yes, Cornell seems to up to date particularly on the veterinary end, CDC questionable for a lot of reasons, but most importantly because they limit the bands on testing that can be used for diagnosis by specifically excluding a band that is definitive for Lyme because it also shows exposure by vaccination and, in order to have a defined case, a person must test positive on both the ELISA and the Western Blot, both of which are notoriously poor at predicting disease. There's a lot more to it than that and a lot of it is political. For whatever reason. Of course, there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there too.

There is a lot of controversy in the Lyme infection and treatment area. So, quite frankly, there are no definitive answers anywhere. It does sound like OP was proactive in receiving treatment and, in the future, a diagnosis, if necessary. Canada seems to be much more "up" on diagnosis and treatment than in most areas of the U.S. Shame on us.

You know, it's really interesting. I ran into an infectious disease doctor socially several years ago who strongly believed in 30 days of antibiotics for Lyme. That's it. Anything else is post Lyme syndrome. Until his young daughter tested positive. She got 3 months of antibiotics. Guess he really wasn't so sure.

Chall
Jun. 26, 2010, 02:08 PM
it also shows exposure by vaccination
I wear full length pants and shirts when I visit my barn (in PA). I get laughed at because everyone wears shorts. What about ticks I said. Oh we don't worry about them here. But the BO said she got vaccinated for Lyme tick. ?? Is there a Lyme tick vaccine, I never heard of it before.

TrueColours
Jun. 27, 2010, 07:44 AM
Chall - Ive never heard of a vaccination for Lyme - human or animal - but its not like Ive asked about one either ...

To add to this, my mother in law was visiting from the UK during May, for a month. Hubby spoke with her yesterday and told her what had happened with me, and she went on to say that when she went for walks out back, there were a lot of mosquito's and she got bitten quite a few times and one gave her this "very strange, red, bulls eye rash" ..

Uh oh ... :(

So I have NO idea how "up" the UK is going to be on Lyme testing and treatments, but will be talking to her today so she can tell THEM what they need to prescribe to her if they dont know themselves. I just hope that she doesnt need to stay on these Doxy pills for any length of time as they truly knock the stuffing right out of you. I have not felt this lethargic and nauseous and "blech" in a long long time. Now I just hope we dont cut hay on Tuesday. In this heat especially I dont know how I could get 1000 bales in and stacked ...

Chall
Jun. 27, 2010, 09:00 AM
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/lyme/default.htm
"Lyme disease (LD) is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. The vaccine for Lyme disease is no longer available. It was discontinued by the manufacturer in 2002, citing low demand. People who were previously vaccinated with the LD vaccine are no longer protected. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, landscaping, and integrated pest management."
On a less trust worthy site, I read the vaccine caused arthritis-like symptoms.
EEK

SMF11
Jun. 27, 2010, 10:38 AM
On a less trust worthy site, I read the vaccine caused arthritis-like symptoms.
EEK

It did when my dog got the vaccine 10 years ago . . . he was in a lot of pain and couldn't get the second booster.

I've had lyme four times, and my 10 year old apparently had it for a few years before being diagnosed . . . COTH should have a thread where we can compare notes. Not HR, but anyone who works outdoors is susceptible!

3Dogs
Jun. 27, 2010, 10:56 AM
I am a MD and epidemiologist, so bear with me:
Prevention is the first step: proper clothing and DEET based repellents. Many above have given good advice.
Second, most tick bits do not transmit Lyme - heck, living where I do, I usually pull of 3-10 ticks a summer - despite doing the above. Nope, no Lyme.
Third, you can look up the prevalence rates in your region through your local Public Health depts -
Fourth, antibiotic treatment really should NOT be instituted unless there are symptoms - if you all want to know about a disease that IS really scary? Read about MRSA -

The MRSA death rate in the U.S. is now higher than the AIDS death rate. In case you don't know what that is, it is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

This is a direct result of the "over antibioticization" of the world - given for every sniffle or sneeze and sadly, in the food chain too: production farming of animals and the routine administration of antibiotics to these animals. It is a growing and very lethal infection.

TrueColours
Jun. 27, 2010, 11:05 AM
Second, most tick bits do not transmit Lyme - heck, living where I do, I usually pull of 3-10 ticks a summer - despite doing the above. Nope, no Lyme.


Educate us. :)

How do you KNOW that you dont have LD, especially with all of the false negatives reported on Western Blot and ELISA tests??? Could it not simply show up 5-10 years down the road with you feeling crummy and not right and finally you are diagnosed with LD??? And you link it to 2-5-7 years ago when you pulled all of those ticks off you?

Around here they seem to take it VERY seriously from what I have learned in the last couple of days and the SOP does seem to be to give you Doxy without even thinking twice. As a preventative measure

So - in the case of my MIL, who is in her early 80's and has enough health problems to contend with the way it is (she's the one that did end up with the Bull's Eye rash when she was here visiting in May) should she NOT start on the Doxy over in England??? I would think for her - again as a strictly preventative measure - she would need to do so even though they make you feel like crap?

I just find this all so confusing. And I know I'd be SO upset with myself if I did nothing today and 5 years down the road I joined that Chronic LD thread recounting my symptoms and the treatment I was undergoing because I did nothing 5 years before ...

deltawave
Jun. 27, 2010, 12:17 PM
You have to also allow that many, many cases of Lyme disease presenting "years" after tick bites are either self-diagnosed, or much more recently acquired than the patient believes. Lyme disease is complex enough in and of itself, but add a HUGE number of often truly "out there" theories, a lot of self-diagnosis, and insufficient knowledge, it is a MESS trying to figure out what's the "correct" way to manage.

Filter all of this down to the level of the local clinic/primary care practitioner (depending on the geographic area and the local clientele) either RARELY seeing a case, or seeing a lot of it and you can see how consensus is very hard to come by. Pressure from well-informed (??!??) patients "insisting" their practitioners treat every single tick bite because it MIGHT have been a deer tick is another source of variance in treatment methods.

Unfortunately Lyme disease has sort of taken on a life of its own among certain populations as a catch-all for any number of general ills. :sigh: The internet is a clearinghouse of information, good AND bad, and since that's where 95% of people go for information, well, you either need to be very, very good or very, very lucky to come up with the good kind. Add to this general distrust of the medical profession ("conspiracy theory" is also a hot topic in the "chronic Lyme" world) and you have chaos.

We all have our unique perspective on the world. Mine is much more heavily populated with the horrors of multi-drug-resistant microbes than it is with Lyme disease, either real or self-diagnosed. YMMV.

Bogie
Jun. 27, 2010, 12:19 PM
Single Dose of Doxycycline can Help Prevent Lyme (http://equineink.com/2009/05/18/single-dose-of-doxycycline-after-tick-bite-can-prevent-lyme/)

Equibrit
Jun. 27, 2010, 01:03 PM
I pulled a damned tick off me yesterday ... now what??? ...


Go have a beer.

chai
Jun. 27, 2010, 04:05 PM
True Colours, I remember feeling that way 10 years ago when we moved to tickville, USA. Now it's more like, 'Ugh, another one," and you just pull it out, squish it (very satisfying because that's what they deserve) and move on.

I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but my doctor gave me some good advice. Circle the red area around the bite with a ballpoint pen. That way you will know for sure if the infection is spreading or there is any hint of a bullseye rash starting.

I don't blame you for being totally grossed out and worried about Lyme Disease. It is a serious matter. But if you live in an area where there are ticks and you love being outdoors, you eventually learn to roll with it where ticks are concerned. Thaty are a disgusting fact of life in so many areas now. Definitely agree that using a product with DEET is a good idea.

LauraKY
Jun. 28, 2010, 11:19 AM
For all you non-believers, until you've had undiagnosed Lyme in addition to other tick borne illnesses (yes, Lyme is not the only one) you just won't get it.

Go ahead. Stick your head in the sand. You can circle the tick bite all you want, but if you're the 50% that doesn't get the rash. Oh well.

By the way, I was one that tested negative on ELISA (several times), negative on Western Blot, but positive on PCR, both by bloodwork and tissue sample taken from knee surgery. A PCR positive is irrefutable. But, according to the CDC, I can't be included in their "positive" numbers.

TrueColors, everything you said, again.

wendy
Jun. 28, 2010, 11:36 AM
For all you non-believers, until you've had undiagnosed Lyme in addition to other tick borne illnesses (yes, Lyme is not the only one) you just won't get it.


but- you HAVEN'T been diagnosed with lyme- you report you're negative on most of the tests for lyme, ergo one must conclude you probably don't have it.

No one doubts "sufferers" have SYMPTOMS. But why are the "sufferers" so certain that it's LYME they have? The reported symptoms of "chronic lyme" sound exactly the same as "chronic fatigue" and "fibromylagia", and oddly enough, also a lot like "premenopausal syndrome", all conditions difficult to diagnosis with vague symptoms that a lot of persons, primarily women in their 40's seem to experience. So why insist it's Lyme and not something else?

The real killer for the "chronic lyme" hysteria is, in my opinion, some randomized controlled trials conducted a few years ago. In order to by-pass the difficulties with the diagnosis of "chronic lyme" they just took a bunch of people who met the clinical criteria for the condition (i.e. had some symptoms and self-insisted they had lyme), and treated some with intensive and not-safe antibiotic therapies, and didn't treat the other ones, and low and behold they all, treated and untreated, gradually got better at the same slow rate.


Before lyme hysteria took hold, it was well-known that most people just shook it off and only a very miniscule minority developed chronic symptoms, most notably severe knee arthritis.

wildlifer
Jun. 28, 2010, 11:50 AM
Tick bites are not worth freaking out about -- especially if you catch them early. Believe me, I get a LOT of them, I'm a field biologist, always tramping through the woods. And despite years of bites from every kind of tick you can think of, no nasty illnesses.

The key is finding the tick early. Do a check every day you go outside. They do not generally transmit any bacteria until they begin feeding, which takes about 24 hours. So if you find it within a day and tick is not engorged, just pull it off quickly and flush it. You'll be fine.

Do not squeeze ticks. Do not put anything on them. Doing so causes whatever is in the tick's body to squeeze into your body, which you don't want. Just grasp its head, pull it off and dispose.

FalseImpression
Jun. 28, 2010, 12:31 PM
We live reasonably close to Port Dover which seems to be a heavily infested area. The pharmacist relayed a story of a family from 4-5 hours north visiting this area (its a very popular tourist spot), he got a tick bite, he phoned Tele Health and they asked where he was from and he said "Sudbury". She told him not to worry about it - just to watch for symptoms. He said "But we are in Port Dover - visiting - thats where I got the tick bite from" and she told him to go to a walk in clinic or Emergency right away. The pharmacist also said because of the area we are in, we are blessed (or cursed???) with doctors that actually DO know quite a bit about Lyme

I assume that the further West you go along Lake Erie (Pointe Pelee), professionals are more aware... our friend is in Waterloo (so not that far from you) and it took him months (a few years ago) to finally get a doctor to accept his suggestion of Lyme. I think he was finally referred to a doctor in TO who knew about Lyme and treated him as aggressively as he could "after the facts". Our friend is fine now, but when he mentioned it to us, he was quite surprised that "I" knew of Lyme. I pointed out to my husband, who had never heard of it, that I did learn a lot from horses!!! I have to specify that our friend had many of the symptoms and did not know for sure he had been bitten, but had spent quite a lot of time in an area that would have had ticks.

Just like two weeks ago, I got an email about transporting baby possums to a sanctuary. I replied "No thanks, I will not go out of my way to save possums! I own a horse!!" The rescuer did know about the threat to horses and understood my position completely.

millerra
Jun. 28, 2010, 10:23 PM
Just an FYI

There is a dog vaccine for lymes. Our hunting dogs get it yearly.

And, based on the OP's description - it didn't sound like a deer tick. Deer ticks are exceedingly small, which is in part we get our hunting dogs vaccinated (even w/ frontline). They are really hard to find in the coats. We've used fine toothed combs and combed out 100s from the dogs after a day of grouse hunting.

And no, I've not had lyme's disease. But I am careful about DEER tick bites and keep an eye on them. All tick bites are not created equal.

One last bit of medical "lore" - around here, the rule of thumb is that the tick (or nymph - which is smaller and harder to find) has to have been on for a long (24 hours+) for the disease to transmit easily - rumor has it its in the "poop" not the bite (let's all have an collective YUCK!)

potteryshop
Jun. 28, 2010, 10:51 PM
No one has truly gotten the "tick shivers" until they feel the 100 pin pricks of teeny, tiny seed ticks biting ankles all at once. You look to see tiny freckles moving up your legs - except those who bit you!
Rubbing alcohol and a shaving razor is the treatment. Thankfully those have never transmitted a disease to me.

wildlifer
Jun. 29, 2010, 09:59 AM
Permethrin spray will also knock out the seed ticks, along with some duct tape. Nasty little buggers, seed ticks...

johnnysauntie
Jun. 29, 2010, 11:07 AM
good info, and thanks for it, but yech, this thread makes me itch. I hates ticks.

LauraKY
Jun. 29, 2010, 01:35 PM
but- you HAVEN'T been diagnosed with lyme- you report you're negative on most of the tests for lyme, ergo one must conclude you probably don't have it.

Au contraire, by any medical definition, and by any doctor's diagnosis, positive by PCR (which measures the RNA or DNA of a particular virus, bacteria, spirochete, etc) is irrefutable evidence of infection.

And ergo, your reasoning is faulty because you don't understand the tests that are used and what they measure. The ELISA and the Western Blot only measure the body's immune response to a particular infection. They (according to the CDC) are only to be used to monitor infection rates as an epidemiological tool, not to diagnose illness, which, again, according to the CDC is a clinical diagnosis. If the body is not mounting an adequate response (and the lyme spirochete can be very stealthy and hide in tissues), one will not have a positive ELISA or Western Blot.

"Lyme Disease Diagnosis

Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, objective physical findings (such as erythema migrans, facial palsy, or arthritis), and a history of possible exposure to infected ticks. Validated laboratory tests can be very helpful but are not generally recommended when a patient has erythema migrans. For detailed recommendations on serologic testing, click here.

When making a diagnosis of Lyme disease, health care providers should consider other diseases that may cause similar illness. Not all patients with Lyme disease will develop the characteristic bulls-eye rash, and many may not recall a tick bite. Laboratory testing is not recommended for persons who do not have symptoms of Lyme disease."

Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are a constellation of symptoms, not a disease. It is unknown, at this time, what causes either. Could be lyme in some cases, could be something else.

And and far as the rest of your opinion goes, you can believe whatever you want, that's why it's only your opinion.

Kate66
Jun. 29, 2010, 01:51 PM
I am a MD and epidemiologist, so bear with me:
Prevention is the first step: proper clothing and DEET based repellents. Many above have given good advice.
Second, most tick bits do not transmit Lyme - heck, living where I do, I usually pull of 3-10 ticks a summer - despite doing the above. Nope, no Lyme.
Third, you can look up the prevalence rates in your region through your local Public Health depts -
Fourth, antibiotic treatment really should NOT be instituted unless there are symptoms - if you all want to know about a disease that IS really scary? Read about MRSA -

The MRSA death rate in the U.S. is now higher than the AIDS death rate. In case you don't know what that is, it is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

This is a direct result of the "over antibioticization" of the world - given for every sniffle or sneeze and sadly, in the food chain too: production farming of animals and the routine administration of antibiotics to these animals. It is a growing and very lethal infection.

Funny how the most qualified person on this board to comment is subsequently ignored. Thank you for your post.

As the mother of a micro-preemie who spent many months in the NICU and witnessed 5 out of the 8 babies in her "pod" being taken into isolation with MRSA, the over prescription of antibiotics terrifies me and amazes me that so many people just either flat out don't understand that antibiotics are only useful for a select number of illnesses, or maybe they just don't care.

Our PCP has a big sign up that says "If you have a cold please don't ask for antibiotics, we will not prescribe them" - for that I applaud her. My sister is also an MD and is constantly telling me how annoyed patients get when they come in sick and she tells them to go home, go to bed and drink fluids, but doesn't prescribe for them.

Seriously people, antibiotics are not just some benign drug that should be taken at any time "just in case". Antibiotics can have serious effects on you in the long run.

LauraKY
Jun. 29, 2010, 02:29 PM
Kate66, you are absolutely right. I can't imagine taking an antibiotic just because of a tick bite and I have been to lyme hell and back (although I now live in Kentucky, with a very low incidence of lyme). I would keep the tick in alcohol and mark the date on my calender, just in case of symptoms, though.

One should also never take or ask for antibiotics for a cold/virus, one should take ALL of their prescribed antibiotics and one should never share or "borrow" someone from someone else. I understand that doctors are no longer giving out antibiotics for every child's ear infection, either.

In addition, we should be getting the antibiotics out of our food supply. I now only buy beef from a farmer I trust and chicken that is antibiotic and hormone free.

wendy
Jun. 29, 2010, 02:55 PM
Au contraire, by any medical definition, and by any doctor's diagnosis, positive by PCR (which measures the RNA or DNA of a particular virus, bacteria, spirochete, etc) is irrefutable evidence of infection.

And ergo, your reasoning is faulty because you don't understand the tests that are used and what they measure. The ELISA and the Western Blot only measure the body's immune response to a particular infection.
well, since I routinely perform these various tests, I do actually understand them very well. If you have zero evidence of antibody response to an infection it's hard to believe you have ever been exposed to the antigen, let alone have any active infection going on. Many persons and animals who have no active lyme infection test positive by ELISA and western blot. Me, I'd say anyone who tests negative repeatedly on both tests has never been exposed to the organism ever. My vets tell me that 99.9% of totally healthy horses and dogs in our area test positive for some kind of exposure at some point in their lives to this kind of test.
PCR tests are indeed very sensitive measures of the presence of a bit of nucleic acid from anything. They are notorious for producing false-positives. Not "irrefutable evidence of infection".

JSwan
Jun. 29, 2010, 03:05 PM
wendy -

If none of these tests are reliable, what test is?

I'm not challenging you; I'm genuinely curious. Treatment of humans and animals often appears to be based on symptoms and guesswork.

poltroon
Jun. 29, 2010, 03:21 PM
As a prior resident of an area in Maryland where 80% of the tick population is estimated to be infected with not just Lyme, but Bartonella, Babesia (and American malaria) and Erlichiosis, she's allowed to be freaked. It took me and my daughter 10 years to be diagnosed, 5 years of antibiotics and thousands and thousands of dollars to be able to function fairly normally. We will never be cured. My daughter lost 4 years of her life and high school wasn't so great either due to constant illness.

OP has a right to be freaked and to ask for preventative treatment. Like almost anything, better to treat early that to wait. I'm the perfect example.

I am very sorry for your situation. These kind of infections are very nasty and worse, seem hard to diagnose.

However, I'll present myself as the flip side - someone who dealt with significant loss of function and many years of recovery due to the side effects (C. Difficile infection) from taking a single course of antibiotics. That's not fun either.

In a case where there's no clear cut infection, the path chosen is going to depend on your circumstances and the risk you prefer. Either choice can be sensible, but both choices carry some risk of error.

LauraKY
Jun. 29, 2010, 04:06 PM
well, since I routinely perform these various tests, I do actually understand them very well. If you have zero evidence of antibody response to an infection it's hard to believe you have ever been exposed to the antigen, let alone have any active infection going on. Many persons and animals who have no active lyme infection test positive by ELISA and western blot. Me, I'd say anyone who tests negative repeatedly on both tests has never been exposed to the organism ever. My vets tell me that 99.9% of totally healthy horses and dogs in our area test positive for some kind of exposure at some point in their lives to this kind of test.
PCR tests are indeed very sensitive measures of the presence of a bit of nucleic acid from anything. They are notorious for producing false-positives. Not "irrefutable evidence of infection".

I just looked back at my medical notes and discovered that the test on tissue and fluid was an antibody test. It was positive.

As for the horses and dogs testing positive, you really should read up on the Cornell studies done regarding a positive test and no symptoms.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15904927?dopt=Abstract


In a 2005 study of 62 beagles who were infected with Lyme, 39 of the 62 dogs showed some symptoms of Lyme disease. 23 did not. This is substantially more than the 5 percent shown in an earlier study, also with beagles.

On necropsy, almost all the dogs had some signs of Lyme disease in the form of synovitis (inflammation of the joint lining) - including the asymptomatic dogs.

14 of the 62 dogs had very severe signs of Lyme infection, including inflammation of the blood vessels and nerve sheaths. Some dogs had lesions resembling those found in human Lyme disease. (Histopathological Studies of Experimental Lyme Disease in the Dog, J Comp Pathol. 2005 July, Summers BA, Straubinger AF, Jacobson RH, Chang YF, Appel MJ, Straubinger RK., Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-6401, USA.)

Although this is just one study, and I have some questions about how they controlled for the possibility of co-infection with other tick diseases those ticks might have been carrying, and how the asymptomatic dogs' necropsies compare to the necropsies of dogs not exposed to Lyme, I still think this tips the scales in the direction of treating exposed dogs even if they are asymptomatic.

I could go on and on about people (in my circle of friends and relatives) who were misdiagnosed with Parkinson's and MS. In the cases of misdiagnoses, adequate treatment alleviated the symptoms.

I personally had many more tests and symptoms that pointed directly to Lyme. Thankfully, I was fully treated. I would hope the same for you if you should ever be so unfortunate as to be infected with Lyme.

dalpal
Jun. 29, 2010, 05:08 PM
I am a MD and epidemiologist, so bear with me:
Prevention is the first step: proper clothing and DEET based repellents. Many above have given good advice.
Second, most tick bits do not transmit Lyme - heck, living where I do, I usually pull of 3-10 ticks a summer - despite doing the above. Nope, no Lyme.
Third, you can look up the prevalence rates in your region through your local Public Health depts -
Fourth, antibiotic treatment really should NOT be instituted unless there are symptoms - if you all want to know about a disease that IS really scary? Read about MRSA -

The MRSA death rate in the U.S. is now higher than the AIDS death rate. In case you don't know what that is, it is Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

This is a direct result of the "over antibioticization" of the world - given for every sniffle or sneeze and sadly, in the food chain too: production farming of animals and the routine administration of antibiotics to these animals. It is a growing and very lethal infection.


I totally agree with this post. Think about horse dewormers...now they aren't working effectively anymore because overuse/misuse.

How the hell are we going to treat tick borne illnesses when doxy no longer works because it's being handed out as just a precaution?

dalpal
Jun. 29, 2010, 05:12 PM
For all you non-believers, until you've had undiagnosed Lyme in addition to other tick borne illnesses (yes, Lyme is not the only one) you just won't get it.

Go ahead. Stick your head in the sand. You can circle the tick bite all you want, but if you're the 50% that doesn't get the rash. Oh well.

By the way, I was one that tested negative on ELISA (several times), negative on Western Blot, but positive on PCR, both by bloodwork and tissue sample taken from knee surgery. A PCR positive is irrefutable. But, according to the CDC, I can't be included in their "positive" numbers.

TrueColors, everything you said, again.

And please tell me what we are going to do when our antibotics no longer work because everyone gets them as a "precaution"...I certainly do get it..but realize that handing out precautionary antibotics is only making the disease more powerful in the long run.

dalpal
Jun. 29, 2010, 05:15 PM
Kate66, you are absolutely right. I can't imagine taking an antibiotic just because of a tick bite and I have been to lyme hell and back (although I now live in Kentucky, with a very low incidence of lyme). I would keep the tick in alcohol and mark the date on my calender, just in case of symptoms, though.

One should also never take or ask for antibiotics for a cold/virus, one should take ALL of their prescribed antibiotics and one should never share or "borrow" someone from someone else. I understand that doctors are no longer giving out antibiotics for every child's ear infection, either.

In addition, we should be getting the antibiotics out of our food supply. I now only buy beef from a farmer I trust and chicken that is antibiotic and hormone free.

Ah, we do agree..just saw this post. :yes:

wendy
Jun. 29, 2010, 05:40 PM
If none of these tests are reliable, what test is?

I'm not challenging you; I'm genuinely curious. Treatment of humans and animals often appears to be based on symptoms and guesswork.
oh, none of them are reliable, which is the problem. Anyone who wants to can claim their symptoms are caused by lyme disease and no one can really say they are or aren't talking a load of bull because the diagnostic tests aren't accurate. They tend towards lots more false-positives than false-negatives, so if you get a negative result I'd be inclined to think it's probably correct.

which is why I think the randomized controlled trials demonstrating that "anyone" who might or might not have chronic lymes disease, whatever, they don't respond to antibiotics. The diagnosis was as vague as any, but the results of the studies were black and white- taking dangerous, intensive long-term antibiotic therapies were not in any way any more helpful than doing nothing.
All of the clinical trials seem quite consistent on this point- if you don't improve markedly after 2 weeks of oral doxy, taking any further treatment is pointless. My vet, one of many who don't even bother doing lyme disease tests anymore, says his diagnostic is if the animal has "typical" symptoms of lyme AND markedly improves after 2 days on doxy, it had lyme. If the lethargy, soreness, and shifting lameness don't immediately respond to doxy he then runs further diagnostic tests on the assumption it's not lyme.

JSwan
Jun. 29, 2010, 06:28 PM
Thanks, wendy. That seems like a very reasonable approach.

LLDM
Jun. 30, 2010, 05:21 PM
oh, none of them are reliable, which is the problem. Anyone who wants to can claim their symptoms are caused by lyme disease and no one can really say they are or aren't talking a load of bull because the diagnostic tests aren't accurate. They tend towards lots more false-positives than false-negatives, so if you get a negative result I'd be inclined to think it's probably correct.

which is why I think the randomized controlled trials demonstrating that "anyone" who might or might not have chronic lymes disease, whatever, they don't respond to antibiotics. The diagnosis was as vague as any, but the results of the studies were black and white- taking dangerous, intensive long-term antibiotic therapies were not in any way any more helpful than doing nothing.
All of the clinical trials seem quite consistent on this point- if you don't improve markedly after 2 weeks of oral doxy, taking any further treatment is pointless. My vet, one of many who don't even bother doing lyme disease tests anymore, says his diagnostic is if the animal has "typical" symptoms of lyme AND markedly improves after 2 days on doxy, it had lyme. If the lethargy, soreness, and shifting lameness don't immediately respond to doxy he then runs further diagnostic tests on the assumption it's not lyme.

I did not improve after 2 weeks of Doxy. I was sick as a dog between 3 and 5 weeks Of Doxy. So bad I had to stop them.

However, after 8 weeks of Ceftin, I was (and am) symptom free. I'll always test positive now.

Had I taken the Doxy immediately after finding the tick, tow weeks might have done it... IDK

SCFarm

BelladonnaLily
Jun. 30, 2010, 10:49 PM
I'm with the crowd that says don't freak out...have a beer instead of a prescription.

I pull them off myself and the kids all the time. Our farm is tick heaven. I could get a tick-borne disease one day. I could also get cancer, hit by a bus, bit by a shark or drown in my own bathtub.

And FWIW, I'm religious about having tick collars and frontline on my dogs..but somehow in the spans of time when they weren't 100% protected, 2 have lyme antibodies and one has erlichia antibodies. None have ever been symptomatic and this was found years ago.

I think caution is always a good thing, but like the swine flu craze that swept the country last winter, some things get WAY overblown.

Adamantane
Jul. 5, 2010, 05:04 PM
When you actually DO have symptoms (Lyme, RMSF or anything else) and you are started on a course of antibiotics because of the provisional diagnosis, there are 2 important things to bear in mind:

First, don't ever discontinue the antibiotics before the entire prescription is completed, and certainly not just because the symptoms have gone away.

There is no more effective means to create overall antibiotic resistance in the world -- or, more immediately for your own immediate situation in the case of organisms prone to readily develop resistance, to create resistance to the particular infection you are being treated for -- than to stop treatment prematurely.

What's more, it's easy when the symptoms dissipate to simply forget to take remaining doses, even if you fully intended to comply with the physician's directions.

(That happened to me a couple years ago with a UTI. I knew better, but I kept the cipro in the bathroom and my other daily meds in the kitchen, so when the discomfort stopped, I simply forgot. Until it came back and required two additional full courses to eliminate the infection, with renewed symptoms that continued almost all the way to the end of the second course. I paid for my forgetfulness.)

Second, if you are being treated for Lyme and are therefore receiving antibiotics already, be sure that your MD writes for a sufficient duration of treatment to eradicate the disease. There is some controversy, but some authorities hold that 14 days is insufficient and 28 days is more prudent.

It's your health, you have a right to ask questions on this point and insist that your questions be taken seriously. Since you're already receiving antibiotics, there's no compelling downside to extending the duration of treatment for a reasonable length of time.

(I serve on the board of a civic association with another person whose Lyme was promptly and properly properly diagnosed and for which she received prompt treatment, but she was treated for only a week or ten days, which was inadequate for her.)

Adamantane
Jul. 5, 2010, 05:43 PM
Incidentally, I didn't notice an explanation for why antibiotic resistance occurs here.

Knowing the a model for the mechanism makes it more understandable why there is so much concern about resistance, and may make it more clear why we should follow the directions when taking antibiotics.

Microorganisms of the same species may differ slightly in their susceptibility to the same blood or tissue levels of antibiotics directed against them. This may be due to mutations or natural subpopulations.

To begin with most are "weaker" (more susceptible), and a very few are "tougher" (less susceptible) to the same amount of the same drug.

Normally the microorganisms of the same species, whether they are "tougher" or "weaker" in susceptibility to some antibiotic drug, otherwise coexist with one another and reproduce in a balanced ecology outside the presence of antibiotics.

Only when the population is stressed by use of a drug against it, will this change much.

If the microbial population is exposed to too little of an antibiotic to wipe out each and every organism present [too low a dose, or an appropriate dose for too short a time], the "weaker" organisms are killed off, leaving behind only a small group of the "tougher" more resistant ones to reproduce and genetically pass along their resistance.

Which they do.

The microbial population remaining alive regrows but now, suddenly, there are only "tougher" ones in the population.

Now the same dose of drug that was sufficient to kill most but not quite all of the original population, has virtually no effect on the regrown population descended from the original handful of surviving "tougher" microbes. That is, the bug has become "resistant".

Which means you either need to significantly raise the dosage the next time around, or cross your fingers and extend the treatment for a long time with the same drug, or find a different drug to which the survivors of the first treatment are not (yet) resistant.

And even worse, it's a one way street: the microbes of any given species can develop resistance armor against each and every antibiotic has been used to control them in the past, and they will pass this resistance on to future generations. Within your body, or out in the world at large.

There are now some disease-producing organisms "out there" in the world that have developed resistance to virtually all the antibiotics we ever have developed.

So take antibiotics when you need them, following the directions to the letter for the full time prescribed.

Don't take antibiotics when you don't need them; they won't help anyway.

chai
Jul. 5, 2010, 11:43 PM
Laura in KY, I think you misinterpreted my post. Circling the tick bite with a ballpoint pen does not equal putting your head in the sand or mean that I don't know that some cases of Lyme Disease do not present with a rash. It's anything but that. I've had Lyme Disease, and my kids and horses have had it. 3 of my horses have had Ehrlicchia, too, and one mare has had another tickborne illness that made her hock to udder swell horribly.
So please do not misinterpret the very good advice that my pediatrician gave me regarding tick bites as a way to minimize Lyme Disease. At the same time, you can't wrap yourself in a plastic bubble and let life roll by while you hide in the house because of ticks. It's a matter of using good tick repellents and doing thorough tick checks, including circling any bites to make it easier to monitor the site.

LauraKY
Jul. 6, 2010, 04:33 PM
Make sure you keep the tick too. Just put it in a jar with some alcohol. If you have symptoms, the tick can be tested.

TrueColours
Jul. 6, 2010, 04:43 PM
There are some fabulous responses here. Thank you. I have learned a lot ...

I did keep the tick in an empty water bottle with a wet paper towel in there. It was alive 2 days later when I went in to see the doctor and they did send it away for testing

I am *assuming* no news is good news as no one contacted me, nor was my prescription extended so I guess all was okay and he wasnt a sick tick at all ...

Thanks again. Some really good advice here and yes - I will react differently the next time I find one on me ...

ssimpson89
Jul. 8, 2010, 03:25 PM
As someone replied earlier, serology tests only look for past/present infections. Just because your body contains antibodies for that bacteria does not mean you have a current infection. PCR is the most effective test. I recently heard about a company called Galaxy Diagnostics that is able to decrease the number of false negatives for Bartonella. They do this by using a culture step. Many other bacteria such as ehrlichia, babesia, and others are pretty easy to find using PCR. Best of luck!

dianehalpin
Jul. 8, 2010, 04:35 PM
I've just this morning gone on Doxycycline for Lyme. Had a bite (red and raised) in a small spot on my side discovered by me last Saturday (7/3) and by Sunday it had the bull's eye ring around it. Showed it to my husband, thinking maybe a recluse spider bite, and he suggested Lyme so I Googled everything about Lyme and other tick-carried diseases and made an appointment with my good general practitioner doc on Tuesday, saw her this morning by which time I had a really classic and expanding and hot to touch bull's eye rash and went on the antibiotic, probiotics, and sunscreen (Doxy. makes one very sun-sensitive). I've had no other symptoms as yet. Our Samoyed dog has had two bouts with Lyme but spends much more time in the woods than I spend. I believe I had a tick crawl down into my pant's waistline from above since I ALWAYS check my socks, pants, legs. Oh well, at least I had a very visible warning in the rash!! Will keep everyone posted. This part of Northern Virginia is ground zero these days for Lyme and there is a very good map showing the incidences all along the East Coast up from about mid-VA throughout the Upper Atlantic, although "spotty" (couldn't resist using that word!) incidences seem to be all across the country and cluster again around the Great Lakes. One of the tick-bourne diseases can be picked up and spread by deer flies (not Lyme, but another). We're running the blood work but it's probably too soon to show positive. I thought an actual new case (ME!) might interest everyone!