It is that time of year again. The weather is warming up, kids are rolling around in the grass, Dad is mowing the lawn, Mom is gardening, and good ole Rover is frolicking in the yard.
It is both a beautiful time of year, but also can be a very dangerous time. In order for everyone to remain healthy, and thoroughly enjoy their summer, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure you and your loved ones do not succumb to a disease that can be life changing. That disease…Lyme Disease. It is not a simple infection that can be easily ‘cured’. In fact, there is no cure, only remission. There are countless people around the world who are completely unaware of a tick bite, for three simple reasons. One, in the spring, the ticks emerge in the nymph stage, no bigger than a poppy seed. They are easily missed, or may look like a freckle or tiny mole. Secondly, ticks actually numb the skin before biting, so you never actually feel a bite. And lastly, they seek out warm places, such as your groin area, armpits, behind the knees, etc.. Places that are easily missed when doing a quick tick check. If you do develop a rash, it’s hard to find it if it is on the scalp, buttocks, or places not highly visible. Have help looking yourself over, especially your back and scalp which are hard to see on ourselves.
So, if you are one of the lucky ones to actually find a tick…KEEP IT!!! Throwing that tick away, flushing it or burning it may give some great satisfaction…but keeping it, and sending it off for testing, could very well put you ahead of the game. Testing the tick is much more affordable than testing a person. The lab can determine exactly which infections the tick(s) is carrying, which then gives you proof in hand to take to a doctor, to receive treatment for the one, or possibly multiple infections, and viruses, that were transmitted. The sooner you begin treatment, especially combination therapy for all infections, the sooner you can feel well, or stay well and get back to living.
PLEASE DO NOT BURN OR DISCARD ANY TICKS PULLED OFF OF A HUMAN! After removal (there will be a post about proper tick removal), place it in a ziploc bag, and put it in the freezer until you can ship it off for testing. This could potentially save you thousands of dollars in doctors visits, testing and treatment. Not to mention the pain and suffering, since so many doctors do not take a tick bite seriously enough. So, please be proactive and let’s keep our children and ourselves safe and healthy this summer. Daily tick checks are necessary after being outdoors…that may seem inconvenient, but as a Chronic Lyme patient who just lost 5 years of life, and has two daughters infected as well, and struggling in their own ways….I assure you, those checks are far easier than the physical, emotional and financial burden that is (Chronic) Lyme Disease.
PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR TESTING INSTRUCTIONS. BOTH ARE FINE, JUST A MATTER OF PREFERENCE. I BELIEVE BAY AREA MAY STILL OFFER FREE TESTING, BUT CALL TO BE SURE. IGeneX offers tick testing as well.
The sites can give you other instructions on how to preserve and mail your tick for testing.
TICK IDENTIFICATION (photos by TickEncounter.org)