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You Found a Tick–Here’s What to Do Next

hikingAccording to a May 2018 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illnesses from tick bites have more than tripled from 2004 to 2016. Because there are more than 300,000 Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, it is important to know how to properly remove a tick. THE EVERYTHING GUIDE TO LYME DISEASE is a comprehensive, all-in-one guide to Lyme disease that describes what the psychological and physical symptoms might look like, plus explains traditional and alternative treatments. In this excerpt from the book, learn what to do immediately after being bitten by a tick.

If you find an engorged blacklegged tick embedded in your skin, you need to realize that you may have been exposed to B. burgdorferi. There are several things you can and should do at this point. First, remove the tick immediately and save it. You can show it to your doctor, which can help with the diagnosis, or send it away to a laboratory for testing. Then keep an eye on the bite site for the appearance of the EM rash, which will generally appear within three to thirty days after the tick bite. If the rash doesn’t appear and you don’t develop any symptoms, it means that either the tick was not infected or that it didn’t feed for long enough to pass on the infection. If the rash does appear, it means you likely have Lyme disease and you need to go see a doctor as soon as possible.

If you send the tick away for testing, some laboratories may test it quickly and you will know whether you’ve been exposed within a day or two. It is possible for you to be exposed to B. burgdorferi and not get ill. Some people get infected but do not show any symptoms. The reasons for this are unknown.

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Check out more helpful information about ticks.

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Excerpted from The Everything Guide to Lyme Disease by Rafal Tokarz. Copyright © 2018 by Simon & Schuster. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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