I just found a tick on [Sam]. I pulled it out and it was still alive and I wonder if I should be worried about Lyme. He said it had been bothering him for a few days now. Yikes! Have you had this happen before? Should I take him to the doctor? Do you think he might have Lyme disease???
A few weeks ago at 9:30 pm one evening, I received the above text from a good friend who had discovered a tick on her eight-year old son’s neck just under his hairline and wasn’t sure if she should be rushing straight to the ER. The area around the bite had become quite red and irritated and the tick appeared to be engorged, though having never encountered a tick before and having hastily flushed the tick down the toilet after removing it (“nasty critter!”), my friend also could not be 100% certain it was in fact a “deer tick” (common name for the Lyme-carrying western blacklegged tick). Worse still, we had several mutual connections who had been recently diagnosed with Lyme after encountering infected ticks in the hills and woods of the Santa Cruz mountains, here on the San Francisco peninsula, so the fear was genuine.
Recently we received this letter from a young Lyme sufferer who took the initiative and leveraged her frustration from battling Lyme disease and the hope that her recent diagnosis has now brought to create this powerful educational video about the disease and how to stay safe.
Sarah H. was diagnosed with Lyme in 2014 after battling the symptoms for more than 20 years without an accurate diagnosis. You can read more about her personal Lyme story here on our Faces of Lyme feature and see another of her prevention videos.
GUEST BLOG: The following story about a recent tick encounter was shared by George Stratman, Principal of the Marin County Outdoor School at Walker Creek Ranch in Petaluma, CA.
As part of Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s educational outreach, staff visit and work with school teachers, camp counselors, and administrators throughout the Bay Area, providing instructional materials and tools and support for program development.
For more information about our outreach activities or to learn more about how we can partner with your organization, contact Jo@bayarealyme.org.
Every week, a new group of approximately 180-200 fifth- or sixth-grade students arrives at Walker Creek Ranch for a week of what is most commonly known as “outdoor education” – a highlight of the fifth and sixth-grade years for many students and their teachers. Walker Creek Ranch, Marin County’s Outdoor School, is in a stunning setting, surrounded by hills rolling gently out toward the Pacific Ocean, and boasting woodlands, ponds, and an abundance of wildlife. The school serves over 5,000 California school children each year with a dedicated team of naturalists, teachers, and support staff, all of whom put the health and safety of our student visitors as the top priority.
How long does it take for a tick bite to cause infection? If I remove the tick within 24 hours, am I safe? What about 72 hours? What if I just found the tick but don’t know when it first attached? These questions and many more come up all the time, particularly here in California where tick and Lyme disease awareness are just beginning to grow.
Standard protocol has been to consider the risk quite low if the tick is removed within a 24-72 hour window. However, in this study by the California Lyme Disease Association and the Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District, the authors point out the importance of early and proper removal of any and all ticks. Bacterial transmission has occurred in as little as 6 hours.
It is that time of year when we reflect and take stock of all that’s happened over the past 12 months – the highs and the highlights and what it portends for the year ahead. As we quickly approach the close of 2014, we are proud of the progress that has been made and grateful to all those who helped create greater awareness, understanding, and discovery around Lyme disease, its agents, and its progression. It has been a year of collaboration and innovation across the research field with promising developments for new treatments and diagnostics