Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lyme Disease and Outdoor Adventures..

Last Saturday, I finally was feeling well enough to take a walk in the woods. When I took my pants off to go to bed that night, I found a small tick lodged into my leg. Attached real good. A quarter sized rash had developed around the bite. I showed it to Joni, and she pulled the tick off of me. The head stayed lodged in my leg.

The next day I went to an Urgent Care place. "Good thing you came in", the Nurse Practitioner said as he wrote me the script for Amoxicillin. "Too many people ignore stuff like that and end up with Lyme's Disease." And so that night I started my fourth anti-biotic in seven days.

Joni had a bite like this a few years ago. We ignored it, her MD ignored it "too late", he said, and now we wonder if her cardiac conduction problem, and the pacemaker that corrects it, might not be a complication of that tick bite.

Supposedly, it takes the tick 36 hours of being attached to you before the spirochete that causes Lyme's Disease screws itself into your body. The tick on me had not been on me that long--however, I still had the characteristic rash. Most of California is now habitat for the tick that causes Lyme's Disease. I'm surprised I didn't get it sooner.

You have about 48 hours to start an Anti-biotic to prevent getting Lyme's Disease, hence the NP's proclamation that it was a good thing that I went to the Urgent Care. Seems to me that all people out in the woods taking a backpacking trip should carry Amoxicillin with them just in case they get bit by a tick. I've heard stories of backpackers on the Pacific Crest Trail that were incapacitated by Lyme's from a tick bite.

Of course, the scare tactics around getting a tick bite seems counterproductive to people actually getting outside and enjoying the woods. Yes, the ticks are there, but I've been crawling around the woods most days for much of my life. I never reacted until now. With some good self care and observation, the cure is easily done. Just because there are ticks in the woods that carry Lyme's doesn't mean we shouldn't enjoy the woods. It just means we should be ever watchful for things crawling on us.

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