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Those blasted Ticks!

abc

Banned
I was out doing some river kayaking on Saturday (well, to be exact, kayak slalom practice), which requires getting out of the river through a faint path thick with vegetation, multiple times.

Well, last night I got this big red rash on my thigh!

So I look up some information online to see what I need to do. And the information is really depressing...

a) The tick is no longer there. But since it probably happened on Saturday, I showered twice in between the time so probably got rid of the tick without noticing it. i.e. I might have gotten a tick bite! :(

b) It could also simply be a bite from a horse fly which can also bring out big red rashes (on me anyway).
If it were horse fly, it'll go away. But if it's tick, it could carry lyme disease.:fear: This is Connecticut after all. So I made an appointment with the doctor for tomorrow.

But the more I read about ticks and Lyme disease, the more annoying it gets. So 2 weeks of antibiotics for possibly a horse fly bite? What joy... not!

It's not so much being bitten that annoys me. I've been able to account for my rashes up until now.It's the worry that every time I got a rash, I had to rack my brain trying to remember where I've been and if I were at risk of being biten by a tick! And since there's no definitive test to say you've got NO Lyme bacteria, the only safe thing to do is to take the blasted antibiotics for 2 long weeks!

This really annoys me since two of my fun actiivity: ww kayaking and mtn biking both involves frequent close contact with vegetation, the mental anguish is really spoiling the fun.

Arghhhh...
 
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mustski

Angel Diva
I can understand your frustration at not being sure what bit you ... but, it would be worse to get Lyme!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
From what I've read the bite looks like a bulls eye....But you're better to be safe with the doc's visit.
 

abc

Banned
From what I've read the bite looks like a bulls eye....But you're better to be safe with the doc's visit.
I read a bit about it online. It seems not everyone had that bull's eye rash. A lot of people just have a... rash. :(

It's like, if it's got a bull's eye, it's definitely Lyme disease. But not having it doesn't mean it isn't...

I'll see what the doctor say. But I want to get some idea of what to expect. Last thing I need is the doctor brush it off and it came to haunt me later. On the other hand, the idea of 2 weeks antibiotic really doesn't appeal. :fear:

(A few years back, I met a woman who had it gone into her brain! Scary story. She lives alone and got so confused she couldn't even tell the doctor how she feels. Fortunately she had a good doctor who decided to test Lyme disease and found it. She recovered but she's real lucky)
 

pinto

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Think of it this way: a lot of Lyme disease goes really far until it is diagnosed, and it is baaaaaaad. The sooner the better, for treatment. Count yourself lucky if that is what it is.
 

abc

Banned
Count yourself lucky if that is what it is.
The trouble is, it seems even the blood test is not conclusive. So it's up to the doctor & patient to decide if it looks like a tick bite and then take the dreaded antibiotic for 2 freaking weeks!

As I get older, I seem to become more sensitive to insect bites, which means I got red rashes more and more often. So the times I had to empty my brain to remember what bit me has also increased quite many times. (I didn't develop rashes from horse flies up until about 5 years ago. Few rashes, few worries)

This is the first time I can't recount where I got the bite, which means it COULD BE A TICK! I'll see what the doctor has to say. Small problem being, my doctor is away and I'm seeing her stand-in. In any case, they're both "city folk" so I have a small doubt of how many Lyme disease they've seen.

I have another white water weekend coming up in a couple weeks. The thought of bushwacking suddently fills me with such dread, it even over shadow the class 3 rapid I'm there to do...
 

MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
Usually, a tick has to embed into the skin in order to infect - and remains firmly there until forcefully removed.

Both of these “usually” items make me think that it might not be a tick bite-related rash.

Deer ticks are EXTREMELY SMALL. Prior to engorgement, they are barely the size of a pencil tip. However, when they embed, they create irritation and swelling, making them easier to spot. At this point, though, some care is required, re: removal.

The rash often has a tell-tale bulls eye appearance (not always), and I’ve never heard of someone getting one that soon after a bite from a tick (especially one that is no longer present on the skin, so it never embedded).

However, the incidents of it in New England have skyrocketed, and thousands of previously undiagnosed and complicated cases are being determined. Last summer, it got to the point of doxycycline scarcity (the standard-fare antibiotic). Dosage is for 2 days if the tick has been found on the skin for less than 72 hours. If longer, the 2 week regimen is prescribed. I did not have any issue with the medication; less so, in fact, than amoxicillin.

I live here and am surrounded by bugs - all kinds, all summer. Have pulled a deer tick off and done the 2 week thing - it was pretty minor compared to the alternative. Anywhere near anything wooded (i.e., my yard) means wearing long sleeves, long pants (bottoms secured), solid footwear, hats with brims, nets if needed, all irrespective of ambient outdoor temperature. Oh, also gloves. All summer, but notably when working outdoors.

This is just the reality of getting through a New England summer. Not my preference nor my choice, but - there it is. Best day of the year for me is the first one after the first hard freeze!
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Think of it this way: a lot of Lyme disease goes really far until it is diagnosed, and it is baaaaaaad. The sooner the better, for treatment. Count yourself lucky if that is what it is.

This. I had a number of nasty ticks as a kid living in Virginia. I never thought anything of it. But now I have a friend whose symptoms went misdiagnosed for a decade. She has severe neurological issues. She spends most days in bed. She can't work. This is not something to F around with.
 

MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
I believe this is the case for our current neighbors’ sister, who now lives with them as she is too disabled (early 60's) to live on her own - advanced, undiagnosed Lyme, which was previously thought to be fibromyalgia and/or severe arthritis.

Additionally - be highly wary of mosquitoes.

Former neighbor in another state - her (once highly athletic) daughter, mid 30's, had bizarre symptoms so evasive for diagnosis that she wound up at Mayo Clinic after at least 2 years of suffering. WEST NILE VIRUS. She is on permanent disability, has not worked in 12 years. 40-something.

Winter is better.
 

abc

Banned
My panic subsided a little overnight, I now recall I was actually wearing long pants during the paddle!
So no way a tick can get itself embedded on my thigh!!!

(I started with shorts but my knee was being rubbed raw on the knee brace so I hopped back out and threw on a pair of long pants. It was a warm day so I stripped the long pants off the moment I got done with paddling. So my recollection was impaired as to what I was wearing during the bushwack part...)

Still can't quite figure out how I got bitten. I hadn't seen any horse flies yet.

Now, I'm debating if I want to make the 2 hr round trip to see a doctor today. Or should I just skip it unless somehow a bull's eye rash shows up later? (the rash is kind of big and itchy as hell, though I have medication for that at home)
 

MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
You know, this almost sounds as though it might be a nasty-plant contact, not necessarily an insect. Poison-something? If this was a tick, it would BE THERE. They cannot infect you if they are not imbedded in your skin (at least that's my knowledge; I might be wrong). Won't hurt to briefly postpone, try what you have available to see if rash and symptoms subside. Nothing cataclysmic will happen in 5 days' time. This could be quite minor. Take a deep breath!
 

abc

Banned
It's not a poison ivy thing because there's a little bite mark in the center of a roundish bump. It's definitely an insect bite. It's just what kind of insect.

Since I obvious didn't get bitten during that bushwacking (unless the tick bit me THROUGH my pants -- but then it would have been rid off when I took my pants off), the only other way any insect could bit me had to fly up to me while I was standing at the parking lot... (no dog around either)

I did sit on grass during the picnic on Monday, but if it were a tick, I would have seen it when I "discovered" the rashy bump in the evening. In other words, I couldn't have accidentally dislodge the tick without realizing it. Whatever bit me on Monday, didn't stay. So...not a Lyme carrying tick.

It was the Saturday part that I worried about earlier. Now that I know I'm in the clear for Saturday, I'm not quite so panicky any more.
 

abc

Banned
It may not be a tick, but whatever that little bugger was, it's nasty. Now the bite spot blistered up, and promptly broken.

So the doctor decided since it's infected, it needs antibiotic anyway. Might as well use the type that will kill the Lyme bacteria.

2 weeks... ughhh... summer time fun...
 

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I went for a paddle on Sunday, then a short hike before heading back home. Found a tick crawling around on my right leg and another on my left arm during the drive home. Yikes and Ewwwww. No sign of having been bitten, though.
 

abc

Banned
Between ticks and poison ivy, I'm turning into a "trailhead princess": change into clean clothes and wipe down all exposed skin right at the trailhead!

All I need to add are a few swipe of lipstick and mascara, I'll be ready for the photographer of Vogue! How about that? :wink:
 

Ringrat

Angel Diva
Wearing pants is not a guarantee...those buggers crawl. The first one I ever found embedded in me was on my stomach, and I guarantee that's not where he was when I picked him up. If you didn't find the tick, it probably wasn't a tick. If they bite and embed, they then don't release until they've had their fill and gorged themselves, which takes a while and makes them considerably bigger...you probably would have noticed it before it dropped off on its own.

All sorts of things can cause rashes and blisters. I had 2 spider bites last week (still do...just not so itchy anymore) that blistered, and one of the blisters was almost the size of a quarter and stuck off my leg over 1 cm. That was fun.
 

abc

Banned
Wearing pants is not a guarantee...those buggers crawl. The first one I ever found embedded in me was on my stomach, and I guarantee that's not where he was when I picked him up. If you didn't find the tick, it probably wasn't a tick. If they bite and embed, they then don't release until they've had their fill and gorged themselves, which takes a while and makes them considerably bigger...you probably would have noticed it before it dropped off on its own.
Can you wash them off in a shower without noticing it?

Not too worry about it on this case of mine. The long pants I wore was a stretchy pant that squeeze pretty tight. Can't see how a tick could crawl all the way up there without my feeling it. More over, if I washed them off in the shower, it means it hadn't been on me all that long (only 2-3 hours) so my chance of getting infected is probably very low even if it's a tick.
 
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Ringrat

Angel Diva
Can you wash them off in a shower without noticing it?

Not too worry about it on this case of mine. The long pants I wore was a stretchy pant that squeeze pretty tight. Can't see how a tick could crawl all the way up there without my feeling it. More over, if I washed them off in the shower, it means it hadn't been on me all that long (only 2-3 hours) so my chance of getting infected is probably very low even if it's a tick.

No, if it's already embedded it'll happily hang on through a shower. Takes a firm, steady pull to get them to let go and come out. The first one I had (the one on my stomach) I noticed the morning after while in the shower. Took me another 45 minutes after I got out to find an appropriate tool in my rental place to remove it and actually accomplish the task. Anything's possible, and better safe than sorry, but I think it's probably something other than a tick. (yay?)
 

abc

Banned
Anything's possible, and better safe than sorry, but I think it's probably something other than a tick. (yay?)
Doctor think it's not a tick.

But since the bite site had blister and broken, antibiotic is the order anyway. So might as well the type that kills the Lyme bacteria. I'll get a blood test in a month to test for antibody. If that's negative, it means I'm all clear.
 

MaineSkiLady

Angel Diva
No, if it's already embedded it'll happily hang on through a shower. Takes a firm, steady pull to get them to let go and come out.
Agree - once imbedded, they are seriously tough to remove. Mine was on back of my neck, probably for 2-3 days. Felt like a scratched mosquito bite scab. Wasn’t. I usually wear a soft-brimmed hat with netting down to bottom of neck (for black flies) - guess this tick got past it...I have long fingernails, pulled it off with my nails (probably not a good idea but I frankly didn’t have a clue what it was at that point, sure found out).

Bottom line to all in New England: beware. If you can’t stay fully covered, at least use DEET. Yes, it’s toxic. (Ben’s is best - 100%) But, for me, anyway, beats the alternative...

ughhh... summer time fun...
Indeed. As I said above -- winter is better.
 

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