Tick Bite! Oh No, What Now?

The facts might help you decide on what to do next. If a deer tick bites you, stays attached more than 24 hours and you live in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent, like we do, there is still a 95 percent chance that you won’t get Lyme disease! If you do, it is completely treatable.

First, find out if it is a deer tick, which is typically the size of a sesame seed…before its “blood meal.” Save the tick, if possible, and look it up on the following website: cdc.gov/ticks/ geographic_distribution.html. Ninety percent of those who contract Lyme’s disease will develop a very specific kind of rash, a circular red splotch. It can take up to a month for it to appear.  That’s OK! Beginning treatment when the rash is discovered will still cure Lyme disease. Fever and flu-like symptoms are also likely.

What about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever? RMSF is transmitted by a dog tick (wood tick), which is larger than a deer tick. In our geographic area, the incidence of RMSF is about one tenth that of Lyme disease and it is associated with a different kind of rash that is symmetrical, beginning on the wrists, forearms and ankles, spreading to the trunk. 

About the author

Ralph Robertson, M.D.