Early last week I pulled an Amblyomma americanum from a place I would rather not mention to you tender readers. Because of where the tick was and how deeply it was attached, I used tick tweezers that I carry in my backpacking first aid kit but haven’t used for years. I have pulled 100’s of attached ticks over the years and have never had a problem… I examined the tick under magnification and the removal was a job well done!
By Wednesday, I was feeling muscle aches, headache, listless, and confused. Friday with all symptoms intensifying, I went to see my Dr. Luckily, I go to a sharp Dr., she agreed that my symptoms could be tick-related and chose to put me on doxycycline (the go to antibiotic for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) – if nothing else as a prophylaxis. Well, Sunday I was feeling pretty darn good (i.e. normal) and thinking clearly (or as close as I come).
So, why am I telling you this? Ticks and tick borne diseases are out there. So are insect borne diseases, water borne diseases, and poop/carrion borne diseases (for those of us who sample insects in carrion and/or poop). I have always felt I must have already been exposed and developed immunity to all the tick borne diseases. I was wrong. Luckily, I was able to associate my symptoms to the tick. Take the time to know what risks you are taking, and don’t exacerbate your risk – example: wash hands before eating after dung beetle work.
It is possible that the tick and my subsequent deterioration were not associated. As I am feeling better, there is no need to spend further $$’s on diagnosis. I really feel I dodged a bullet here. I hope this little “it happened to me” story helps this to NOT happen to you.