What to do if you discover a tick bite.
You may have heard (or read in my last blog) about the particularly bad tick season this year. If you live in
an area where you know there are ticks, you may already have some tips for preventing a tick bite, or know what to do if bitten. If you don’t know, or live in an area where there are ticks but maybe not at epidemic numbers, and you are bitten, here’s some handy information. This blog is intended to help you not only if you have been bitten recently, suspect you may have been bitten (more on this later) or are going to visit and an area where there are a lot of ticks.
The number one reason it is important to consider this information is that it is MUCH WORSE to be unknowingly exposed to Lyme disease and try to treat it down the road rather than preventing or treating it directly after being bitten.
So what to do? The first step is prevention. If you are going to be hiking or out and about in an area where there are ticks (woods, grasses, etc.) before you go either use an essential oil based tick repellant
or you can use DEET directly on your skin to repel ticks. If you are not comfortable applying DEET to your skin
, you can spray your clothing with Permethrin, let it dry, and then wear the clothes when you are in the tick infested area. Chicagoans, please know that there are ticks in the city, and especially if you visit parks, have pets (dogs), be aware after visiting parks and playgrounds.
But what do you do if you are bitten by a tick?
You have a few choices – you can see your medical doctor, and they may recommend a dose of antibiotics. This they may do preventatively, even if you don’t have a rash reaction – called “Erythema Migrans” or you may have the case where a doctor won’t treat you without the rash. The rash is NOT always present when someone is bitten by a tick and infected with Lyme disease (read more here
on Canlyme.com’s website). If your doctor is not familiar with Lyme or does not treat it often, you may want to find another doctor. Here’s a handy list
of antibiotics that treat Lyme – and ones that do not. I am personally not a fan of antibiotic overuse – that being said, the be
nefit outweighs the potential cost when it comes to Lyme disease. Not to mention that if someone gets treatment early on, they may avoid using antibiotics long term which some chronic Lyme patients end up doing.
You can also take herbal medicine – Stephen Buhner
, an expert on treating Lyme disease and its co-infections with herbs, recommends using 3,000 mg of Astragalus (the Chinese herb, Huang Qi), for 30 days and then 1,000 mg daily indefinitely. He also recommends applying a paste made out of Andrographis tincture and green clay to the bite to prevent an active infection. As a preventative, he also recommends taking 1,000 mg of Astragalus daily if you live in an area where there is lots of Lyme.
If you would like, you can purchase the Tickit
– a tick testing service where you send a tick that you have removed from your body in for testing. The kit is particularly useful for folks who may already have been infected with Lyme in the past and want to make sure if they are bitten they know exactly what infections the tick is carrying. The kit is purchased before the tick bite occurs and you are then ready if you have a tick to send it off to the lab quickly.
The best websites to read more about ticks, Lyme disease, successful removal of ticks, prevention and treatment are:
– the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation.
Stephen Buhner’s website
on Lyme treatment with herbal remedies.
To find a Lyme literate Medical Doctor in your area, please visit the following website
and request the information.