General Question

asmonet's avatar

I found a tick, now what?

Asked by asmonet (21370points) November 14th, 2008

I just found a tick by my bed, all swollen and gross. I’ve never been bit by a tick, no one in my family has and my dog hasn’t either. I didn’t feel anything recently, I didn’t see any bite marks when I did my mirror check… I’m just not sure what I do. I should go to my doctor and check for Lyme disease right? And other junk? How soon should I get this done, is there a minimum amount of time I would have to wait to have those things show up if I did get something?

I found a picture online matching the tick I found. Which is just bleh. I also found this article Which doesn’t say anything about people… but makes me think maybe it’s not generally attracted to people.

My questions I guess are, would I have noticed being bitten, how long until I can expect to see a rash/bite mark following the bite if I was bitten, and how long after should you contact your doctor if at all?

Bonus if you have any information regarding that species that’s relevant.

Where’s shilolo, huh? :)

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40 Answers

lynzeut's avatar

I would take you and the tick you found to the doctor as soon as you can get in. Better safe than sorry, and a doctor should be able to answer these questions for you. I’m sorry!

skabeep's avatar

hmm you must live in the city lol. there are ticks all over the place around here. i get them all the time and never notice till later. i just pull em off and throw them out. never had any medical trouble from it. if you dont see any marks or bad looking spots you are probly just fine.

Nimis's avatar

I’d definitely make a beeline to the doctor. (Tick in tow.)
Though to gauge the sense of urgency of the situation,
you could google the prevalence of Lyme disease in your area?

Good luck!

asmonet's avatar

I actually live in the forest, sort of. :) Ticks are more commonly found in wooded areas.

Thanks, Nimis dear. If I die, I leave all my lurve to you. Please give Sueanne_Tremendous a slice.

battlemarz's avatar

It is very easy to have the tick checked out. It really isn’t necessary to have yourself examined if you don’t notice anything. But you should definitely make sure the tick is Lyme disease free.

asmonet's avatar

Do I just take it in to my doctor? And be like, “Here, have this vitaminwater bottle full of delicious ticky goodness! Test, please!”


asmonet's avatar

Also, I’m kind of compulsively itching myself everywhere. Why did I have to find it near my bed? Huh? Why not in the hallway or by the tv?!

Nimis's avatar

[Stares at your heap o’ lurve.] No one’s going to touch your lurve.
You’re going to walk through that door Lyme disease free, you hear?
And we’ll continue to frolic through Fluther just like before.
You hear me, woman?!

But, seriously, you could try looking it up by state.

asmonet's avatar

I can do it! I believe!

I did that, Virginia….big player in the Lyme disease game. Don’t you link me, I’ll lose hope.

scamp's avatar

Take the tick to the doctor’s office so it can be sent to the lab to see if it is a carrier. Then ask about having a lyme titer done just in case. It’s a simple blood test and it takes two weeks to get results. I was bitten in ‘96 and got lyme then. It’s not worth the risk to wait for symptoms, and much easier to treat early.

funkdaddy's avatar

Doesn’t going to the doctor seem like a little bit of overkill… maybe?

Replace the tick with a mosquito in this scenario… “I found a mosquito in the house, I don’t think I’ve been bitten, what’s next?”

Would you go to the doctor?

Maybe I just spent too many years without health insurance… and I’m not discouraging asmonet from heading in if that makes her feel best about the situation. I’m just surprised that was the immediate reaction.

Nimis's avatar

I think if it were in another state, perhaps?
Though Virginia seems to have its share of Lyme disease,
I’m all for getting everything checked out.

I’d go with what Scamp said.

asmonet's avatar

Well Lyme disease is a bit more silent than say, malaria. You can’t compare mosquitoes and ticks, they have different populations, regions, diseases and those diseases have different effects. Lyme disease is a bit more prevalent in this country. Virginia is one of the top ten states for the disease, also, considering I found the tick, fully engorged by my bed as opposed to it having not recently fed and outside or further from the area I’ve been hanging out in for the last few hours made me think perhaps a simple blood test wasn’t that big a deal. So overkill, nah, I don’t think so.

azul's avatar

Shouldn’t Lyme only be a possibility if it’s a deer tick? I was under the impression that they’re the only ticks that carry it… They feed on deer and mice, which can carry Lyme.

Nimis's avatar

The fully-engorged part gives me the heeby-jeebs.

scamp's avatar

@funkdaddy , If you knew how painful the arthritic symptoms of lyme can be, you wouldn’t hesitate to rule it out as quickly as possible. If she was infected, the earlier she gets treatment, the better. That’s why I suggested she take the tick in for testing. If it is a carrier, she can get the titer done to see if she was also infected and get treatment.

azul's avatar

Oh, Wikipedia says the primary ticks that carry it in the U.S. are deer ticks and black-legged ticks – in Virginia, probably deer ticks – although some other ticks can carry it. (It seems like it would be hard to identify an engorged tick. Igh.)

I have a friend with Lyme disease who talks about it a lot, and always advises people to take a picture of the bullseye rash if it appears, in case you have trouble with medical diagnoses.

EDIT: Apparently deer ticks are the same as black-legged ticks. Somebody on Wikipedia is made of fail. Here is some info about deer ticks:

scamp's avatar

Not everyone gets the bullseye rash. My rash was more like hives that ran from my wrist to my armpit, and it didn’t show up until a week after the bite. ( I was bitten near my elbow)

gailcalled's avatar

All ticks that are embedded and/or engorged should be removed carefully with a fine-pointed tweezer; the tick should be kept in rubbing alcohol while you await developments.

I take lyme ticks and dog ticks off my cat. The engorged dog tick looks like a small wobbly grape or teeny black balloon. NO time to be squeamish.

asmonet's avatar

It wasn’t on anything, it was on my floor engorged. So, that’s not a concern. I trapped it in an empty bottle, is there any specific reason to keep it in rubbing alcohol?

scamp's avatar

@asmonet Hold on a sec. I work in a lab and I’m going to ask the techs what’s the best thing to put it in.

I just called the techs, and they said not to put it in alchohol or it will ruin the intergrity of the test. Just put it in a plastic bag, take it to your doctor’s office and tell them to use code # 930012 to test the tick. The doctor needs to put it in a plastic transport tube with no solution of any kind

AtSeDaEsEpPoAoSnA's avatar

You only get lyme disease if you pull the tick out and the head is left embedded into the skin. Ticks dig there head under your skin to draw as much blood as they can, in doing this, the tick can hang on to the host as they feed and create more baby ticks in there body(Tip: Ticks are A sexual, no monkey love for them). If the head is not dug out of the skin and the wound heals there is a great potential of lyme disease(Deer ticks). Ticks feed until they get large enough to bust and release babies. Ticks can also stay dormant for 6 to 8 months without feeding.

asmonet's avatar

@atse: Actually, it only takes apparently about 36 hours of exposure (they think) to tick to contract the disease, considering as this tick was an entire surprise to me already fully engorged, I have no way of knowing when it was on me and I just didn’t notice or if it wasn’t on me at all. And I doubt they are asexual as a lot of literature I’ve read at this point has mentioned males and females, which seems odd.

Thank you, everyone! I have an appointment on Monday with my doctor, better safe than sorry with a number of ailments on top of regret. I’ll update you guys when I know something. :)

scamp's avatar

Sorry AtSeDaEsEpPoAoSnA but that is not correct information.

AtSeDaEsEpPoAoSnA's avatar

I hope my info gives you alittle more comfort. I have been a camping fool all my life.

asmonet's avatar

Shilolo! Yessssss!

AtSeDaEsEpPoAoSnA's avatar

Maybe I will do more research. My info was word of mouth (other campers and boy scouts). Sorry for putting out misleading information…......Just get your butt to the doctor, that is a great idea.

shilolo's avatar

So, I guess I’m a little late to this Q. Sorry asmonet, I see you made a specific request for my help. (Maybe next time put my name in the tag.) In my defense, I have a legitimate excuse (<—- see new avatar).

Anyway, I wasn’t sure from your link which tick bit you. Typically, the nymph forms of the Ixodes ticks are more likely to transmit lyme than the fully developed adults. That said, it is safe consider it a possible lyme disease vector. Since you didn’t feel or see it on your body, it is less likely to have come from you, and more likely bit your dog instead. That said, capturing the tick is prudent, and going to the doctor with tick in hand a good idea. In Virginia, there are many other illnesses transmitted by tick bite, so, if you begin to feel ill over the next 1–2 weeks, you should ask your doctor for a referral to an infectious disease doctor.

In general, if you are really, really worried, then your doctor can give you a prescription of doxycycline as treatment for early lyme disease.

asmonet's avatar

@shi: In the future, I will tag ya. :) Congratulations on the new baby by the way! This is the tick that bit me. It’s in a bottle right now and it looks like the little fucker is collapsing in on itself, so maybe I can post another picture once he’s all flattened out again. My dog does sleep in my bed but I haven’t seen anything on her, and she’s all white, generally we notice things on her immediately – which is also the reason I have such a strong suspicion it was on me and I’m just oblivious. It also looks like the tick’s mandibles are still there, really hard to tell since it’s so small but I figure mandibles being present is a dead giveaway that the head is still on there, however small.

I’m going on Monday and have a follow-up appointment for about 3 weeks after that I can cancel if nothing changes. (sometimes it’s hard to get an appointment, figured I’d plan for the worst.) Thank you very much, shi. :)

p.s. does lyme affect dogs? should i tke her to the vet too?

shilolo's avatar

Well, here is a picture of various stages of the lyme disease-transmitting ticks (compared to dog ticks). It seems unlikely that the tick that bit you is a lyme tick, but, evaluating the picture isn’t the same as seeing it in person.

asmonet's avatar

Yeah, mine is grey and seems to be an adult… if anything it more closely resembles the top one. Thanks again, shi. :)

buster's avatar

I spend a lot of time outdoors fishing and what not. Ive been bite by ticks several times and I always get a itchy welt sort of like a mosquito bite. It will itch like crazy for several days. You would probably have a itchy welt if you were bit.

hoosier_banana's avatar

I have been bit by many, many ticks and have developed an allergy to deer ticks. I always (I thought) find them as soon as they bite (they are hardly ever attached well, and never swollen). I had heard that the tick had to be attached overnight to transmit the disease, and never went to the doctor for any of them. I got Lymes last year and had bad headaches, fatigue, “lyme fog”(brain farts) and the standard bulls-eye rash. I talked with a doctor who said the blood test for Lymes was not all that accurate and with my symptoms and the number of cases in my area it was worth taking the antibiotics, test or not. The real problem was that doctors didn’t used to consider Lymes as often as they should have, an army buddy of mine was tested for meningitis (spinal tap) twice before they tested for Lymes.

I doubt it was on you, that sucker looks hard to miss, and to get that big it would have been on you for many days. It is much more likely that it came from your dog, they can hide well. And yes Lymes is very bad for dogs, my friend lost her retriever not too long ago. I say call the vet and ask what to do.

Here’s a good identification/info source, firefox has a little trouble with it though.

amurican's avatar

I had a tic too. Used to fight with my mosquito all the time.

Response moderated
stratman37's avatar

Whatever you do, don’t squeeze or poke it, it looks like it’s ready to blow!

asmonet's avatar

Thank you everyone for your information, stories and advice! I got my results a few days ago but I kept forgetting to update here.

I’m Lyme’s disease free! :D

shilolo's avatar

@asmonet. Good to hear… Not surprised ;-)

scamp's avatar

Good to know!! I’m glad you’re ok!

Strauss's avatar

@asmonet Earlier you said you have a dog. Is it possible the tick fell from your beloved pet? you shoule have hom/her tested for Lyme disease alson

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