Some physicians (ER, GPs) think that a ONE-TIME dose of antibiotics after a tick bite will prevent the disease. This is FALSE, and do not allow a physician to tell you so. It may kill off the Lyme bacteria (borrelia) in the "spirochete" form, but not the "cyst form" which can also get passed onto you by the tick. The "cyst form" takes longer to kill.
According to ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society), the following is appropriate treatment:
- For a tick bite with no Lyme symptoms - 3 weeks of antibiotics (doxycycline for people over the age of 8, amoxicillin for children under 8)
- For a tick bite with symptoms, such as a rash - 6 weeks of antibiotics (doxycycline for people over the age of 8, amoxicillin for children under 8)
Also, be very careful HOW you remove an embedded tick. Many physicians (ER, GPs) don't know how to properly remove it without squeezing its stomach, which will cause its stomach contents to enter your body! Here is a video to show you a method you can use to ensure that this does not happen. It is called the Straw and Knot Method, developed by a Canadian doctor, Ernie Murakami. Advance to 2:06 in the video. Basically, you position a straw over the embedded tick. Tie a thread onto a straw like you were starting to tie a shoelace. Slide the knotted thread down the straw, over the tick's body, as close to your skin as you can get. Slowly tighten the knot around the tick's head. This way, you are not squeezing the stomach. Use gentle tension to pull the tick out. You can also use fine-tipped tweezers to pull a tick out, but be careful to grasp ONLY the head and not the body/stomach of the tick.
Put the tick in a plastic bag or small jar and have your doctor send it away for testing. Do NOT allow your doctor to tell you to "wait and see" if you get a rash or other symptoms! It is best to treat prophylactically (preventatively). Three weeks of antibiotics now could save you a lifetime of chronic illness if the tick was carrying Lyme.