Yup, I pulled the little deer tick off of my belly last week. I thought about saving the tick, but was hoping it wouldn't matter. You can send the little buggers off to be tested for Lyme Disease or other infections which can really help in a diagnosis and treatment, but like I said, I didn't do that this time.
Whenever I see a tick, I pray it's not a deer tick. Lyme's Disease is mainly transmitted by deer ticks and it's no laughing matter. I have too many patients who suffer from this incredibly destructive bacteria. My hope is that the more people who know about this disease and the more seriously they take it, the less people will suffer. Before I tell you my course of action, you need to know that I'm not someone who jumps to antibiotics for a cure. In fact I think that they're generally over used and cause a lot of problems — but if a deer tick is involved, I want act as swiftly and as strongly as I can — and that means antibiotics.
Unfortunately, this was not my first bite. About 8 years ago, I had early onset symptoms of what seemed to be Lyme: fever, chills, sweating, and unusual drowsiness. My wife asked me if I had been bitten and I actually found the tick under my arm while driving! I took immediate action. After a full course of antibiotics and Chinese herbs, I felt much better and hoped I was in the clear for good.
This time, I had no immediate symptoms, except a rash around the bite, not even the classic bullseye. It looked more like a giant mosquito bite, but red. After a few days, when it didn't go away, I got worried. I checked in with my Doc and she recommended a 30 day course of antibiotics, which I am currently on.
I have so many patients who struggle with the long term effects of tick born diseases like Lyme and I am all too aware of the mysterious, bizarre, and harsh symptoms that a little tick bite can potentially bring.
In the spirit of 'better safe than sorry', I am writing to share one possible course of action. If you've found a tick on yourself, please contact your doctor right away. More and more MDs are beginning to take Lyme and other tick born diseases seriously and the faster you take action, the more likely you'll be to have a clean bill of health.
Here's what I did when I got bitten by a tick, along with some of what I wish I'd done:
1. Stayed Calm
2. Carefully pulled the tick out with tweezers placed under its head. Try not to squeeze the body of the tick as it could release its stomach contents into you.
3. I should have saved the tick in a baggie. You can send the tick off to be tested for Lyme.
4. I noticed a rash. It wasn't the classic bullseye, but it lingered and didn't go away after a few days, so I got concerned.
5. Used medicinal grade essential oils of Rose, Helichrysum, and Laurel leaf locally on the bite. You can do this a few times a day. I unfortunately only did it a couple times.
6. Called my doctor. If you get worried, you have a bullseye rash, a rash that seems to grow, a fever, pain, or flu-like symptoms.
7. ***Note: this is where you go see your doctor and they advise you - I'm not a doctor and don't prescribe or advise about medication.
My doc prescribed me:
- a 30 day course of Doxycycline (antibiotic - 100mg taken twice a day) along with
- Nystatin (anti-yeast) to be taken with the Doxy. This prevents non-beneficial organism from flourishing in the gut in the absence of healthy bacteria.
- Probiotics to be taken 3 hours after the Doxycycline. This also helps to maintain healthy guy flora.
8. Get acupuncture: Acupuncture is amazing at helping the body heal itself and easing any adverse symptoms of the drugs and tick stuff! Plus I'm an acupuncturist and I love acupuncture, so... I'll be at receiving Acupuncture this week. I heard there was a great place nearby.....
9. When I'm done the antibiotics, if I am not feeling like myself, I will start taking Chinese Herbs. In the past I've used a combination of Lightning and Thunder Pearls from Classic Pearls. Read this awesome article on Chinese Medicine and Lyme by founder and herbalist Heiner Fruehauf.
note: There is an interesting study on Stevia helping Lyme in petri-dishes. But it has not been tested on humans yet and I have no idea about dosing etc.
All in all, I trust I will be just fine, because I'm taking fast and strong action against this invasive disease.
I hope this is of some help to you and/or your loved ones on this journey.
If you have any questions or are interested in acupuncture treatments feel free to reach out via email.