- Not every tick is infected with Lyme (or co-infections)
- Not every infected person gets the Bullseye Rash (Erythema Migrans or EM Rash)
- Remove the tick as soon as possible following proper procedures.
Early symptoms of infection may include flu-like symptoms such as: fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, muscle aches, jaw pain, stiff neck and sore or swollen joints, swollen glands, red eyes and possibly a rash. Rash may or may not be the EM Rash. Estimates say 30% to 80% will present the EM Rash.
- Many people do not get these early flu-like symptoms.
It is estimated only 10% of children will get a rash of any kind. The rash may occur up to 30 days after a tick bite and may be anywhere on the body. There may be one or multiple EM Rashes.
The presence of an EM (Bullseye) Rash indicates early infection with Borrelia, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. CDC guidelines for diagnosis dictate the EM Rash is an instant diagnosis of Lyme disease and immediate treatment is necessary without further testing.
This means that if you do have an EM Rash, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to begin antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease.
You must become your own advocate. Take pictures and keep a journal of any other signs and symptoms you may notice. If you feel your physician is denying the possibility of Lyme Disease or does not have adequate training in Lyme or other tick-borne diseases, find a Lyme Literate Practitioner, (LLMD or LLND) so you can get proper diagnosis and treatment during the early stages of the disease. Not getting proper treatment in the early stage can be life-altering.
EM Rash photos:
The following tick removal methods are NOT recommended:
Burning the tick off with a match or cigarette lighter.
“Suffocating” the tick with petroleum jelly or oils.
Gripping the tick with thumb and forefinger and pulling it out.
Safe tick removal methods:
Method 1: Fine Tweezers (or Tick Removal Kit)
Using a pair of fine pointed tweezers and a steady hand, grasp the mouthparts of the tick and NOT the body and slowly pull the tick straight out. (Watch a tick removal video)
Method 2: Straw and Knot
The ‘straw and knot’ method is an elegant, easy, effective, low technology tick removal method.
Camping and hiking are high-risk activities for encountering ticks, so remember to pack a straw and thread (or thin dental floss) next time you head into the woods.
Place an ordinary drinking straw at a 45-degree angle over the tick. (The straw is simply being used as a guide to direct the knot).
Take a length of thread (or dental floss) and tie a loose knot at the top or midsection of the straw.
Slide your knot down the straw to where the tick is attached.
Position the knot underneath the tick’s belly, so that the knot will encircle the embedded mouthparts only.
Slowly tighten the knot to close snugly around the mouthparts of the tick.
Remove the straw and pull the thread in a steady upward motion.
This will cause the tick to detach, but should inhibit regurgitation of bacteria that may be in the midgut.
Method 3: Intradermal Blister
Only consider this method if you’re close to a doctor’s office and have immediate access.
A doctor can inject Xylocaine into the skin below where the tick has attached.
A large Xylocaine-filled blister will form.
After tasting the Xylocaine, the tick should release its grip and back out on its own. (Watch ‘Blister & Straw and Knot’ tick removal video)