After the Bite
1. If bitten, remove the tick using tweezers pulling straight up and away from the skin. Do not twist or squeeze an embedded tick, as that injects the potentially infectious contents of the tick’s stomach into your body.
2. Save the tick in a baggie and contact IGeneX Lab, TickReport or Bay Area Lyme for testing. Though not foolproof, this is the least expensive and best way to know if your tick carried diseases. (Note: It takes approximately 3 weeks for test results.)
3. Call a Lyme-literate medical doctor (LLMD) and make an appointment. Do not wait for test results. Many have immediate openings for those with a potential new infection. The LLMD will help you weigh the benefit of prophylactic antibiotics. Geography, how long the tick was attached, the season, and the tick’s life stage are factors in determining your protocol for testing, treatment, and re-testing. LLMD referrals:
- Global Lyme Alliance
- International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)
- Project Lyme
4. Stay Vigilant. With an early Lyme infection, antibodies may not have had time to develop in your body. Therefore, a blood test at this time may appear negative. You may have Lyme disease even with a negative test result. Monitor your symptoms, learn about Lyme disease and trust your body and your gut instinct.
5. Do not rely on Urgent Care, your local doctor, or an infectious diseases specialist to treat you. In half of cases, the current treatment guidelines lead to undertreatment – and chronic illness.