Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Embedded Tick Photo

Honestly this tick was too small for me to examine to see if it is a deer tick or a wood tick. Certainly it could be a nymph of either.

(Double click to enlarge, then you can see the tiny legs! It's definately not a spot of dirt!)

This was found at 5 p.m. after spending six hours in the woods in Connecticut in late May 2010. I photographed this to show the size, see the Q-Tip for scale reference. On a pale skinned person this is easy to spot if someone else is doing the tick check. This one was on my son's back in a spot he could not see. He did not feel this one (sometimes they itch soon after embedding). This was so small this was the first time the mouthpart stayed in place after I removed the body. It was hard to grasp it completely. I got it out on the third attempt with the tweezers.

A point I want to make with this size is can you see how hard it would be to do tick checks on the scalp (unless the person is bald) and also tick checks on one's own self?

Spring 2010 seems to be a bad year for ticks in Connecticut. We had a lot of early rain, with three floods before May 1.

Also on this day, at 9am my son's friend spotted a hugely engorged tiny tick behind my son's earlobe. I'd not noticed as when he woke up he put on a baseball cap and wore it until we arrived at our destination, he removed the hat and walked away from me to talk to his friends. That tick, which I did not photograph, was teeny-tiny and I could not even see the legs or the head. That body was dark black not red like deer ticks. It came off easily. That must have gotten onto him last night while at lacrosse practice because other than that, he was indoors, as it was 96 degrees outside with high humidity, and sunny. I note he took a long shower after that practice which did not get rid of the tick.

(People say to shower after going outdoors but in my experience this does not dislodge ticks nor help a person find a tiny un-engorged tick on their body. Un-engorged ticks lie flat and are not easy to feel if you touch them. Engorged ticks are easier to find by touch in and out of the shower such as if have an itch and scratch it and feel a bump or feel a bump on the scalp while shampooing.)

And on the same day, in mid-day while working in the woods, this son also had an itch on his back and asked his teacher to look at it. (Our new family policy is when we have an itch we look to see if it's a tick and if we can't see the area we ask someone to look at it for us.) Indeed it was an embedded deer tick which was removed immediately by the teacher.

(Yes he had three ticks embedded in one day.)
This poor kid also had a fully engorged deer tick on him two days ago. It was on his flank near where the waistline is, so when he felt the itch when he woke up in the morning, he was able to turn and look and saw it. That one must have been from playing outdoors on the grass the day before and it gorged on his blood overnight as he slept. It was so engorged when I attempted to remove it, it popped and spurted his blood out at me and onto his skin and the tick regurgitated fluids into my son's body. This was evident when a dark purple area like a little hematoma or blood blister appeared at the site. I had never had that happen before. I have read if that tick is infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease, when that happens, it puts the bacteria right into their body. (Insert explicative here.)

It's not a good week for avoiding ticks this week and it's also not a good week for me and removing ticks with tweezers.


SAHMinIL said...

So what do you do if they regurgitate their fluids into the body? Do you go get test for lyme disease? Or do you wait and see? Watch for symptoms?

Diane said...

That is just plain scary. Ticks totally freak me out. We have three dogs and mostly if we see a tick it is because they bring them inside from the yard. Someone else had told me it was a bad year for ticks also and we live in Georgia. The photo of the tiny tick is what scares me the most because that would be really easy to miss.

christinemm said...

I cannot give medical advice.

Some doctors give a prophylaxis dose of one day of antibiotics (regular dose for the chosen AB for Lyme based on age and allergies).

Some doctors give one day of high dose of chosen AB.

Some doctors do not believe in prophylaxis doses.

I cannot get consistent medical advice from our pediatric practice. The two doctors are the local walk in urgent care center treat it differently. The different infectious disease doctors in that practice treat it differently. I am frustrated with asking for appointments per what one doctor says then seeing another doctor who won't treat and wants to "wait and watch for symptoms".

I am waiting and watching for symptoms.

I have also gotten the run around with basic 21 or 28 day AB treatment when symptoms are present but I'll not share details here.

It's so frustrating.

SAHMinIL said...

I totally understand not wanting to share detail or going into great lengths. With that said, it must suck not to able to get the doctors to even agree on "what" to do. UGH! I would be flustered as well!!

Karen said...

I hope everything resolves quickly and well. Your expletive is warranted!