Thursday, May 3, 2012

An Unwelcome Guest

I don't have a photo to document the evidence because I panicked and flushed it.  But, being that backwoods is clearly in the title of my blog I felt I should document one of my firsts since moving back to the woods. 

While in the shower this evening I found a tick...attached to my back.  When I first felt it I thought it might be a new mole.  Noting the uneven texture, I thought to myself, "That's not good, I better get a look at this."   Then I contorted around and sort of pulled on the skin by my ribs to try and take a look, and to my horror I realized that the "mole" had legs.

At first I screamed.  Then I grabbed at the thing, pulled it off, and threw it in the soap dish.  I realized it wasn't engorged with blood, which is a good thing, and proceeded to try to pound it to death with the handle of my razor.  Babe Jr heard my scream and subsequent pounding and came in my bathroom to investigate the commotion.  By the time she arrived, I had incapacitated it and asked her to get me a piece of tissue.  Then I picked up the offending guest with the tissue, handed the wad to her and asked her to flush it.  Afterward, I completed one of the most thorough showers I've ever had.

Once I got out of the shower I checked out the bite and there was a small red mark.  I had Babe Jr wipe it with some alcohol.  Then I picked up the phone to call my crafting compadre, Mrs. S, who also happens to be a registered nurse.  Unfortunately for me, she worked a 12 hour shift today and was already in the bed.  Squirrel answered, I explained my situation, but he wasn't much help as he had no advice or post bite instructions.  Then I called my step-mom who assured me that if it came unattached easily and wasn't engorged, I was probably OK.

As an extra precaution and excuse to read about the hundreds of diseases and infections I might possibly have been exposed to so that I can brood about it for the next week, I turned to my friend Google and found this article.  What to do after a tick bite to prevent Lyme disease

There was also this helpful photo chart.

The ticks in the top row are deer ticks, which carry Lyme.  The bottom row are dog ticks and do not carry Lyme but can carry something called Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  Hmm, that sounds fun.  Because of it's size, I think my tick was a dog tick.  I didn't take enough time getting acquainted with it to note if the signature white markings were present.  In either case, normally for most infections to be transmitted the tick would have had to have fed and been engorged.  The article suggests using tweezers to firmly grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible in order to fully remove it; then follow by washing well with soap and water.  Obviously in my panic I didn't use tweezers, but I got it all and definitely washed thoroughly.

If you are ever bitten by a tick and find that its engorged or the bite begins to show signs of infection, it's recommended to see a doctor and start antibiotic treatment.  In the future, I will definitely be conducting a thorough inspection anytime I've been working in the yard or spent time in the woods.

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