Welcome to my blog! This is a place of information and hope for fellow Canadians who are suffering from Lyme disease. I want to share with you the knowledge I have gained during my fight with this debilitating, frightening, and misunderstood illness. I hope you will be blessed.

Protect Yourself from Ticks

What Ticks Look Like

Ticks have 8 legs and can be very small depending on what stage they are in.
Image from CanLyme

Image from CanLyme

Image from CanLyme
Click to enlarge photo

(From the CanLyme Website)

Ticks are simply nasty.  They carry many diseases. Some diseases are transmitted very quickly to humans by the tick.  Some, like tick paralysis will affect the person with a slow paralysis over a couple of days and can cause death if the attached tick is not found, but the individual will recover within hours once the tick is found and removed.  The transmission of B. burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) from an infected tick is less likely to occur before 24 hours of tick attachment.  For this reason, daily checks for ticks and prompt removal of any attached tick will help prevent infection.

Herein we discuss three methods of removal... the physician's best technique for an office or emergency room setting, the straw and knot method, and the most common tweezer method.

1. INTRADERMAL BLISTER TECHNIQUE (for physicians in the office or emergency room setting.)

An injection of xylocaine with adrenaline is administered intradermally underneath the tick.  It will generate a large blister at the site.  Ticks will release their grip due to the lack of blood to feed on, and because of "positive pressure" from the temporary swelling.  The tick will back out on its own in a short time.


Use an ordinary drinking straw and place it at a 45 degree angle with one open end over the tick (the straw is simply being used as a guide to direct the knot).  Next, take a length of thread and tie a loose knot at the top or midsection of the straw.  Now, slide your knot down the straw to the site.  Position the knot underneath the tick's belly, so that the knot will encircle the embedded part only.  Slowly tighten the knot to close snugly around the jaws.  Now, remove the straw and pull the thread in a steady upward motion.  This will cause the tick to detach, without regurgitation.

To view the above two methods on video, visit this YouTube link.  Dr. Murakami demonstrates how they are done.

Embedded ticks can also be removed using fine-tipped tweezers by placing the ends of the tweezers as close to the skin as possible, squeezing them onto the mouthparts of the tick and pulling firmly and steadily backwards until the tick is removed.  Any mouth parts that remain can be removed at the doctors office.

DO NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products.  These may cause the tick to become distressed and regurgitate its stomach contents, including the Lyme bacteria, into you.

Once the tick is out, via any of these methods, you may notice a small amount of blood at the bite site.  It's either from the victim but more commonly the tick. In either case, it's best to at least wash the site well with an anti-bacterial saop. Follow up, when available, with an antiseptic.

Taking preventive antibiotics after a tick bite: The relative cost-effectiveness of post-exposure treatment of tick bites far out weighs the danger and cost of not treating it.  The doctors should make the decision based on what they would do if it was their child who was bitten.  Therefore, treating persons who only have a tick bite is recommended. Individuals who are bitten by a deer tick should remove the tick promptly, and consult with their health care provider.

Persons should promptly seek medical attention if they develop any signs or symptoms of Lyme disease.

(Note from Paula: Save the tick in a jar or baggie for testing.)

(Debbie Hadley, About.com)

Finding an engorged tick on your body is never fun.  Ticks do carry diseases, which might make you think twice about your next hike into the woods.  You don't have to avoid the outdoors, though.  Your first line of defense is avoiding their bites.  Follow these 10 tips to avoid ticks, and more importantly, tick bites, when you head outdoors.

1. Use a product with 20% DEET or higher on both skin and clothing. Carefully apply the repellent by hand to your face, neck, and ears – you don't want DEET in your eyes or mouth!  Adults should apply DEET products to young children.  You may need to reapply DEET products after several hours.

2. Apply permethrin to clothing, hiking boots, tents, and camp chairs.  Permethrin products should never be used on skin.  It remains effective on clothing through several washings.  Permethrin is sold under the names Permanone and Duranon.

3. Wear light-colored clothing.  You'll have a better chance of seeing a dark tick crawling on you before it makes its way to your skin.

4. Wear long pants with sneakers or hiking boots.  Tuck your pant legs into your socks, and keep your shirt tucked into your waistband.  In areas where ticks are abundant, you might even want to wrap some duct tape around your ankles, over the top of your socks.  You'll look ridiculous, but it works.

5. Outfit yourself in bug repellent apparel.  Want a sporty, outdoor look with built-in tick protection? Ex-Officio sells a line of clothing that is pretreated with permethrin.  The treatment lasts through up to 70 washings.

6.  Stay on the trail.  Ticks hang out in high vegetation, waiting for a passing host.  When your leg brushes through the vegetation, the tick transfers to your body.  Walk on designated trails, and avoid blazing your own through meadows or other high vegetation areas.  You'll avoid ticks and leave a minimal impact on the wild places we love.

7. Avoid tick-infested places.  In some places, ticks may be too abundant to avoid, even with the best repellents and long pants.  If you venture a few feet into a wooded area or field and find your legs covered with ticks, turn around.

8. Perform a daily tick check.  (The following is from the CDC website.)

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard.  Conduct a body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas by searching your entire body for ticks.  Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find.  Check these parts of your body and your child's body for ticks:

•Under the arms
•In and around the ears
•Inside belly button
•Back of the knees
•Under the arms
•In and around the hair
•Between the legs
•Around the waist

Shower soon after being outdoors.  Showering within two hours of coming indoors has shown to reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick.

Check your children for ticks, especially in the hair, when returning from potentially tick-infested areas.  See the list above for the places on your child's body to check for ticks.  Remove any tick you find on your child's body.

9. Check your clothing for ticks.  Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing.  Any ticks that are found should be removed.  Put your clothes in the dryer, and tumble them on high heat.  Research shows many ticks can make it through the washing machine, even when you wash in hot water.  Most ticks will die during a cycle in the hot, dry air of your clothes dryer, though.

10. Check your pets before letting them loose in the house.  Ticks can easily drop off on carpets or furniture, where they will wait for a bloodmeal to come along.

Source:  Into the Lyme Light blog

Paula's thoughts:

- I would do your research before applying DEET to children!
- Baby ticks are called nymphs, and they are the size of a poppyseed.  The adults are the size of a sesame seed.  So, you are looking for something that is very, very small.
- If you remove a tick, save it in a jar or baggie for testing.  However, be aware that testing is not always accurate!  The tick may have a different type of borrelia bacteria, or may carry co-infections that are not being tested for.
- My LLMD recommends that a person receive 3 weeks of antibiotics for a tick bite, automatically.  It takes too long to get the tick tested, and by then, the bacteria can spread.  If any Lyme symptoms appear soon after the bite, such as a rash, then 6 weeks of antibiotics should be prescribed.