While avoiding contact with ticks is the only way to prevent contracting a tick-borne disease it is not a reason to avoid outdoor activities. Taking steps to protect yourself from being attractive to ticks is one of the first lines of defense.
- Wear light-colored long pants, tucked into socks when outside. This makes seeing the ticks easier and prevents them from crawling up your legs.
- Stay on clear paths when in the woods.
- Change your clothes immediately when you get home and put the clothes you were wearing in the dryer for 30 minutes.
- Most importantly, perform daily tick checks!
What should you do if you find a tick on you?
Save it!! Testing can be done on ticks to see if they are carriers of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses (co-infections). If you’re not sure exactly how to remove it, this video shows very clearly how to remove a tick the right way.
Once you pull off the tick, place it inside a sealed zip-lock type plastic bag with a damp (not wet) paper towel. Do not soak in bleach, alcohol or preservative. The tick can be even months old and still be appropriate for testing.
There are a number of different labs that will perform tick testing. You can send the tick to a lab directly and do not need a doctor’s order. We use TickReport.com. You can place the order on their site by clicking the “Test A Tick” button. Complete the requested information, choose a test package (we recommend the comprehensive package), provide payment, and then send the tick as instructed. The prices range from $50 to $200.00 depending on the number of tests that you would like done. The results from this lab are received within 3 business days via secure email. Once you receive the results, you can share the information with your physician to guide your treatment.
If you have a known tick bite, do not wait for the results to contact your doctor; the sooner you are treated the better. Adjustments in treatment protocols can be changed if needed once you get the results back.
The importance of testing the tick…
- Early treatment can be key in preventing chronic Lyme disease;
- Not everyone presents with the classic “bulls-eye rash” even though they have contracted Lyme or other co-infections;
- Knowing the tick-borne illness that was contracted, instead of assuming, can guide the treatment; and,
- Antibiotics are not benign, taking them when not needed or for extended periods can have long term consequences.
– Nan Kinder, RN
We are here for you, and we want to help.
Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892 x2