Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nature Bites!

Having recently moved to a new house near the State Game Lands I was excited to take my nephews and niece out to explore. Being that it was somewhat chilly I had a long sleeves and long pants. I felt I was pretty protected as we were not going deep into the woods, but instead were staying on a trail that we only followed for a couple hundred yards.  When we got back, I sat down saw a tick run across my leg. Yes, I screamed.  I quickly grabbed a paper towel and scooped it up off my pants leg and promptly disposed of it.  At that point I made sure that everybody that went for the walk (including myself) was thoroughly checked for ticks. Luckily we did not find any more ticks, at least not then.

The next afternoon I happened to look down at my leg and noticed an unusual mark. Upon closer inspection I saw that there were little legs sticking out of it and yes they were squirming. I had a tick attached to me- ewwww!!  I used to be a lab tech so not much throws me but this little bloodsucker actively burrowed in my leg did and I needed to get it out ASAP as I couldn't tolerate the thought of it being attached a minute longer! I quickly got tweezers and extracted the entire tick, head and all, from my leg.  Just in case it was needed, I saved the tick in a container.  I then went and washed to bite wound and my hands thoroughly, just as the instructions I found on the internet said.

Having two friends with Lyme disease really made me concerned about my risk. I knew to look for a bull’s eye rash but didn't really know much else. My first thought was that first thing Monday morning I needed to call my primary care physician to see what they would recommend.  From the primary care standpoint I was grateful that I have a relationship with a primary care office and knew that if I called they would be able to help me, which they did.

On Monday morning I called my primary care office, PinnacleHealth Medical Group, Heritage Family Medicine, not really sure what to expect. After explaining the situation the office wanted me to come in evaluate the tick bite and see if there was any follow-up necessary. I was so fortunate in that they were literally able to get me in within a half an hour.

Dr. Metropoulos at Heritage Medical Group in Lemoyne was wonderful and explained the risks of Lyme Disease based on my case and our options for treatment. We both agreed that a prophylactic course of antibiotics would be the best route for me.

I typically spend a lot of time outdoors and thought I was pretty knowledgeable about healthcare. But this tick bite was definitely a learning experience for me.

I had some pretty big questions throughout this experience. Luckily, within PinnacleHealth we have a number of experts including those in the primary care field and infectious diseases. And consulting with Dr. John Goldman with infectious disease he was able to provide me with some great information answers to my questions.

Dr. Goldman recommends the following safety tips for tick bite prevention.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants
  • Use insect repellent with DEET
  • Change clothes immediately after coming inside your house
  • Wash clothes promptly

Since all the boxes are unpacked and I am certainly not moving anytime soon, I'm going to have to learn how to live in an area where ticks are prevalent.  I've since stocked up on insect repellent, have made a habit of checking myself frequently for ticks and am looking forward to spending time going for more long walks this summer.

Want your questions regarding tick bites and Lyme Disease answered? Join Dr. Goldman on August 20th at the Camp Hill Giant for a free seminar titled Lyme Disease: What You Should Know. There is no cost to attend but registration is required.  Please call 231-8900 to register. 


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