Look what I found before bed last night...

I was getting ready for bed when I saw a dark shadow inside my ear and had to take a second look.

Yep, a tick. I almost panicked, because, ew gross! Instead of running around my apartment screaming, I took a picture, grabbed the tweezers and then flushed that sucker down the toilet. I've always been an outdoorsy kind of person so this isn't the first, second, or even third time I've found a tick on me.

Will says "ticks don't discriminate," and he's right. Ticks live where woods/fields meet the lawn, under leaves and plants, and tall brush/grass.

According to the Lyme Disease Association, ticks are not insects, but arachnids (same family as the spider!) and they survive on a strict blood diet.

"They find the perfect place to feed, which in humans is often hairy areas or folds and creases, although it will bite a person anywhere on the body."

Well, this tick decided to set up camp on my ear.  I grabbed the tweezers and made sure I grabbed it from the head because they bury their head in the skin.  The tick was still alive when I plucked it off and I flushed it down the toilet.

MISTAKE: Getting rid of the tick once you pluck it off. I have no way of knowing if that tick had Lyme Disease, because I didn't take it in to get it tested.

The only thing I can do now is watch for symptoms of Lyme disease. The CDC says to "Remove an attached tick using fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you notice it. If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small."

Whew!  I might be in the clear...

Lyme is a Multi-Systemic Disease caused by the bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) which normally is a bacterial spirochete (spiral shape).* It's described as looking like a bulls-eye. Approximately 50% of patients who contract Lyme disease will remember having a rash.

Since Lyme disease is a multi-systemic illness there is a multitude of symptoms associated with the illness. Some include:

  • Flu-like illness
  • Fever
  • History of Tick Bite (Not all patients recall a bite)
  • Headache
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • EM Rash, Other Rashes (Only found in 50% of patients)
  • Malar Flush, Red Ear Lobes
  • TMJ/ Jaw Pain (Temporomandibular Join)
  • Neck & Back Pain
  • Joint Pain & Swelling, Bone Pain

Early appropriate treatment will increase chances of eradicating the disease and may prevent you from developing chronic Lyme disease. A physician or qualified medical practitioner diagnoses and treats Lyme disease. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.

I'm going to be obsessed with checking for ticks for a while.

Male ticks die after mating, this was a female "Deer Tick"
Male ticks die after mating, this was a female "Deer Tick"

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