Help! I've been bitten by a tick — now what?

Aug 05, 2017

Camden — This is the number one question that I get on a regular basis, via phone call, email and in person. People who have had a tick encounter struggle to find the next step. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and disoriented by all the information you find on the Internet, which is why when people reach out to me, I give them options. Bringing down the fear factor is my main concern and giving people options gives them back control over their own health concerns, a potentially unnerving situation.

The most common advice I give:

1) If you still have the tick, get it tested! Know what you’ve been exposed to. Without symptoms, if you test too soon and your body has not begun to produce antibodies, testing can be unreliable, give a false negative. And many providers will not treat with antibiotics without symptoms.

2) While you wait, boost your immune system. There are lots of homeopathic remedies that are safe and available in your local natural food store that can boost your immune system and help draw out infection. Ledum is a natural, homeopathic remedy and a highly effective defense against tick-borne diseases from a tick bite. It’s safe for all animals (dogs, cats, horses, etc.) and people – it’s all natural with zero side effects. Used in conjunction with Bentonite clay made into a paste and applied to the tick bite, this draws out any surface infection before it can disseminate. You want to do this as soon as you can after a tick bite.

3) If you want to see a Lyme literate provider, contact us. It’s that simple. We are networked with medical providers all throughout the state of Maine, who are well-educated and experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of tick-born disease.

It’s entirely up to you.

The 2018 CDC Health Information for International Travel (commonly called the Yellow Book) is published every two years as a reference for health professionals providing care to international travelers and is a useful resource for anyone interested in staying healthy abroad. In Chapter 3 (Infectious Diseases Related to Travel), Dr Paul Mead, MD, Chief of Epidemiology and Surveillance Activity of the Bacterial Diseases Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention talks about contracting Lyme, how it manifests itself and what treatment and prevention looks like. He further states that diagnosis and management are sometimes controversial and should be managed by those who have experience with this disease. That is because seeing a medical provider who understands the complexity of tick-borne disease understands that Lyme is a clinical diagnosis, that the current testing is unreliable, that it can present in many ways and that a quick response is needed before infection disseminates.

Once your tick test comes back and you know what you’re dealing with, I encourage people to get with a medical provider who is expertly trained and has a lot of experience with patient’s exposed to tick-borne diseases. You want a medical provider who is up-to-speed on the latest treatment guidelines and who has access to many forms of treatment support. When infection is caught early, many times a single round of treatment is all it takes.

So, if you’ve been bitten by a tick and need support and direction, please contact us. We have support resources available for every step of your journey back to health and wellness. For more information, you can email info@mldse.org or visit our website www.mldse.org

Paula Jackson Jones is the president of Midcoast Lyme Disease Support & Education, a nonprofit 501c3 and Maine-partner of the National Lyme Disease Association and member of Maine CDC Vector-borne Workgroup. She is also a survivor of late stage neurological Lyme complicated by co-infections. You can reach her at paula@mldse.org.

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