Lyme Disease: What To Know This Season
How do you know if you’ve been bitten?
Given that the ticks are the size of a poppy seed, you’ve got to have pretty good eyes. The CDC recommends that if you’ve been walking in the woods, in tall grass, or working in the garden, check your skin afterward, ideally in the shower or bath. That way, you’ve removed your clothes, which may carry ticks, too.
What do you do if there’s a tick under your skin?
Remove it with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers as soon as possible, pulling upward with steady pressure. If parts of the tick remain in the skin, also try to remove them with the tweezers. After it’s out, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Mead says you’re not likely to get infected if you remove the tick within 36 to 48 hours.
Some people have an allergic reaction to ticks, so they’ll notice a bite right away.
How do you dispose of a tick?
Place it in soapy water or alcohol, stick it to a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet.
What are the early symptoms of Lyme disease infection?
They mimic the flu -- fever, chills, headache, fatigue, and muscle and joint aches. The appearance of a “bulls-eye” rash -- the kind with a spot in the middle and a ring around it -- is a clearer warning sign. It shows up in almost all people infected with Lyme and begins at the site of the tick bite after 3 to 30 days (but on average, appears in about 7 days) and gradually expands. It isn’t itchy or painful.
When should you see a doctor if you suspect you have Lyme?
The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. At this stage of the illness, treatment with antibiotics will likely be successful, Aucott says.
How is it treated?
With the antibiotics amoxicillin and tetracycline, usually for 10-21 days, Mead says.
Other antibiotics that may be used include cefuroxime or doxycycline.
If you're treated early in the infection stage, a full recovery is likely.