And you are pretty sure that it was a tick! Well, here are your top 5 reasons to phone a physician.
But first thing’s first. Remove the tick using a tweezer. This is where glamour meets medicine and “Eye Brow Plucking” can save a life.
Dr Nathanael Desire, a local Internist Physician and expert on Lyme Disease on Shelter Island, NY says “Everyone on Shelter Island should own a pair of tweezers. Use it. Grab a hold of the body of the tick and pull up.”
So, when DO you worry about infections and the dreaded Lyme Disease?
Well, you already know that not every tick bite equals Lyme Disease, akin to not every dog bite causes Rabies. In fact, the majority of bites do not.
And you already know that only an infected deer tick will transfer the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.
And you already know that just about any bug bite will leave a mark, a lump or a rash.
But is this THE rash? And has THIS tick been hiding and presiding on your posterior for days?
Here are your top 5 reasons to phone a physician.
1)Your rash is growing or has circular patches. Your typical mosquito appearing rash after a bite that is less than 24 hours old is unlikely to be an issue. But if your rash has the size of currency and starts giving the quarter coin size competition, make an appointment.
2)You are unsure of when you were bitten or you know that it has been more than 24 hours or your new tick friend looks pretty fat compared to its legs. Just do like the doctor said, Squeal! Well, I’m sure he said “Pluck it Off.” However, bringing that little buggard in does not much for your diagnosis. Aside for speciating it and determining how yummy it thought you were, it tells us nothing about you and your status. And that is what we care about. We will only toss it for you as it is not recommended to determine the tick’s bacteria burden, only yours.
3)You spiked a fever or have flu-like symptoms. That is your first true cause for concern because something has triggered your immune response beyond local irritation and inflammation. And the most dreaded “something” among the many “somethings” is the bacteria called borrelia burgdorferi. So come in!
4) You begin experiencing GI distress such as nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. This is a pretty vague symptom and it does not pinpoint a cause but, as doctors, we like putting puzzles together and this new symptom along with a new tick bite may be the puzzle piece needed to raise a red flag.
5)Your develop achy joints or muscle pains. My, that could mean anything from strenuous exercise to arthritis but if you didn’t have it before, let us review your constellation of findings.
After all, Lyme Desease is not only preventable, it’s treatable and curable when caught prior to permanent damage.
So there it is. Your top 5!
Fortunately, our fears did not make the list.
There’s no mistaking that fears are real or that our fears have saved lives. But the one thing that is for certain is that our fears regarding tickbites are treated with education.
So before you break out that co-pay and brace for the next bill from the lab, know this … education in a doctor’s office is just as costly as that prescription. So if you live in an area endemic to Lyme Disease, read up more on the topic and stay smart.