Friday, May 22, 2009
A Cautionary Tick Tale...and what to do....
Yesterday morning (so glorious!) Rani the pup and I set out for our walk of the territory. The air smelled sweet with blooms and all was right with the world as we headed up and along the ridge. This route saves me from some of the more serious hills and my right knee was giving me a little trouble. Just before 4th. St., a little piece of cartilage or something floated into just the wrong place and I needed to sit for a minute. Right where I stopped was a giant maple at the roadside, with a very convenient little ledge of sorts, close to the bottom of the trunk. I swept some bark and leaf bits with my hand and sat down to rest. Just a few seconds later I looked down to see a wee tick nymph, the size of a poppy seed, crawling across the back of my hand.
I flicked it off and immediately stood and brushed myself from the head down, especially the seat of my pants. Next was a quick check of the forearms and legs, under pants and shirt, before tucking everything back in and continuing on with our walk. My knee slowed us up a bit but we had our full walk and Rani was ready (after her tick check) for her nap.
The next step in self-care was to take all of the clothes I had been wearing and put them in the dryer for an hour. The heat of the dryer kills them...hot washing does not. After the dryer, they went in the next wash load. That underway, I showered, then asked my daughter to help me do a thorough tick-search. All was well. There was no reason to panic because I knew the steps. Now, so do you.
To take this one step further...had we found an embedded tick, I would carefully remove it and save it. We know that the tests for ticks are much better than the tests for humans. Then, you better believe, I'd be heading to my doctor's office and demanding a six-week course (no less, no less, no less!) of antibiotics as prophylactic treatment. That's all and you're safe...good to go.
If we'd known this, nearly eleven years ago, my daughter would be out in the world working, instead of being chronically ill and on disability. With our advocacy work we've met hundreds of Washingtonians with chronic Lyme now, many of them struggling and forced to turn to the State for help to get by. With just a little bit of education, we could save a LOT of people, not to mention MEGA MONEY, in Washington.
There's just one more step to take...and I ask my neighbours to take it with me. Please call our State Reps and ask them to sign-on to Federal Bill HR1179 for Lyme education and research, which is now in the House. Knowledge is power. Don't hide from the beautiful nature we are blessed with here just please, go into it with educated respect.