Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | June 6, 2011

Guess I’m just a Tick Magnet

Let me start off by disclosing that I “do not do well” with ticks, but I feel it is important to share this story because I hope the facts will s”tick” with you. 😉   I have chosen not to post any tick photos simply because the sight of them makes my skin crawl!!

My journey began back in early May, when I removed a deer tick from my belly. I woke up in a hotel room near Covington, KY, (or Ken-ticky, which I have begun to use) groggily stumbled to the bathroom, felt my belly and something “a little extra.” A deer tick decided to “have a little snack,” and viola!, I was the host.

So… I tried to remain calm while removing the tick, but my adrenaline started to kick in when the darn thing would not come out, and was holding on. Eventually, it came out, but it was the longest minute of my quite blessed life.

I immediately thought back approximately 10 years ago, when I lived in Massachusetts, and was apparently bit by a deer tick (never saw the bugger,) and got a bullseye rash. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to go through that again.”

After a few phone calls, a visit by housekeeping, and THEN calming down, I packed up my tick, flew her back to NJ, and went on my merry way.

I decided that my new little “friend” (sarcasm) would pay a visit to the doctor with me.

About a week later, I began to develop that same, familiar bullseye, and then the phone call came. The tick tested positive for Lyme Disease (LD.)

"Bullseye" I was the "Target"

I will spare the details of the next few weeks, but long story short, the bite itself got infected, and had to be treated before returning to the LD meds (Doxycycline, which made me very ill every time I took it.) The doctor pulled me off the Doxy and put me on yet another Penecillin alternative, since I am allergic, and I made the decision to see a Lyme specialist, who put me on a completely different “cocktail.” It has been said that the treatment can be worse than the early stages of the disease, and I concur.

In the next few weeks, I conducted some “inadvertant field research” in the field of tick attraction.

While visiting my boyfriend’s friend, I brushed against a shrub at dusk, and bam! picked up another little bugger (luckily, my boyfriend removed the critter  while it was walking on my back.)

This weekend, we decided to take a short trip (figuring 20 or so minutes) to Sterling Forest (with plans to keep it short and sweet because we were afraid of the bears.) In addition to seeing some fresh-ish bear prints, guess what I brought back to the car with me as a souvenir? Two ticks walking on my jeans, oh, and the one on the back of my jacket, oh yeah, and the one that had already made it under my shirt. Ummmm four, count’em FOUR ticks!

After I stopped screaming and crying hysterically (sorry, hun!,) I asked the question, why is it that he can traipse through all kinds of brush and not get a single tick on him, while they just gravitate toward me. We speculated about the materials of clothing we wear (he wears nylon pants, I wear blue jeans.) But it turns out that some people are actually more prone because of their chemistry.

If I may just directly cite the “Tick Patrol” website:

“Ticks use scent, body heat, and exhaled carbondioxide to detect their victims. For this purpose they often stretch their front legs in the air. A special sensory organ able to identify certain substances in the air is located in an indentation on the leg and is termed Haller’s organ. Haller’s organ is specialized in sensing various kinds of substances like butyric acid and ammonia which are contained in sweat and carbondioxide contained in the air we breath out. With the help of these substances, which are excreted from animals and humans, ticks can identify a potential victim as he approaches. If a potential host brushed by a tick, it can cling on to him in a split second and then search for the correct part of the body to bite.
The tick is not interested in the amount of a given substance being excreted by the animal or human, but rather in the composition of the substance. Only when the sweat exhibits the right mixture can the tick identify a human as a possible host. It is speculated that for this reason certain people get bitten by ticks more often than others.”

So there ya have it! Destined to a life of Tick Chemistry? I hope not. I would really like to put this little chapter behind me, and not go for the hat TrICK if I can help it.

What to do if you get bit by a tick:

  • It is important to get your tick tested.
  • You can bring it to your primary care physician’s office or send it away.
  • Many townships in tick infested areas have programs that will test, as long as you cover the lab cost (for example, my township charges $25.)

What to look for: (Symptoms of Lyme Disease)

  • ** Symptoms appear anywhere from 3-30 days after the bite.
  • Bullseye rash
  • Joint Pain
  • Headaches
  • Sore Throat
  • Fever
  • The bite itself is generally not painful, so if it is, it may be infected.

Things to know:

  • only a percentage of people develop the bullseye rash
  • While Lyme disease is the “big” concern, ticks can carry several different bacteria, and it is important to get tested for all of them.
  • Insurance does not always cover the cost of the test for the tick.
  • Blood tests conducted early on are inconclusive – the spiroketes must have a chance to reproduce to be detectible.
  • “Herxing” is a condition where toxins are released into the body by the antibiotics, allowing the body’s natural defenses to fight the infections. It is often referred to as “feeling worse before feeling better,” and is the turning point in LD treatment.

For great info, please visit the American Lyme Disease Foundation‘s website.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Don’t feel bad, Iv’e had several thousand on me in the past 15 year… Coldest winter ever and got one yesterday in February.

    • I’m not sure how or where you live that you have had several thousand ticks on you, but I have had less than a dozen (that I know of; who knows about the nymphs), and I am up at 3:00 in the morning totally paranoid that I may have yet another crawling on me. After moving to a beach town up at Lake Michigan in Northern Indiana, I have suffered from Lyme Disease in 2015, and yet another tick this past weekend, and again experiencing joint pain, headache, sore throat, ear ache, and other random shooting pains, numbing in hands.

      The article above — Tick Magnet — I could identify with and so wish that I could find a place in the U.S. that does not have this problem, since it is inevitable that I have the “right” body chemistry that they love.

      I have found that Rose Geranium Oil is a deterrent since the thought of putting chemicals like Deet on my skin is “almost” equally repulsive.
      And yes, I get the screaming and going slightly insane at even the sight of a tick. My first bout (in 2015) left the right side of my body paralyzed until I had the doxcycline, But how many times can one take an antibiotic without ending up either not having it work or developing a total immunity to its ability to fight off infection?

      So, I hope some read this and have some positive suggestions. I really will be lost if the only answer is to avoid the outdoors, which my sister suggested. I LOVE the outdoors and nature — of course, I suppose we hikers, runners, cyclists are the targets.

      Have a safe and “tickless” summer of ’17 …
      Karen


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: