Don't be misinformed about ticks no more and don't let it ruin your passion!
Maybe someone can make this a sticky.
This was posted in my forum and I thought it was very helpful and very informative.
Ticks, bugs, and mosquitoes are part of biking and simply being outdoors, so let‘s get started....
Well...usually when it comes to ticks there's like different reactions....
- "and now what?" - the clueless guy
- "meh...nothing can happen, I got a shot" - the partially clueless
- "ahh, there was something, but they don't jump from trees" - the almost well informed
- "Ok, now we’ve got to get some misinformation out of the way" - that's the job of this thread
Unfortunately infections from ticks are on the rise, but this is mostly from uniformed or misinformed patients as well as doctors!
Here we are going to address Lyme disease which is a bacterial infection spread by an infected tick.
If treated early, it is pretty curable, but treated in later stages it can become chronic and very hard to treat, that's why time is crucial.
First, let's rule out some misinformation about ticks:
- You can get a shot for tick bourne illnesses. well, that's not completely correct. You can get vaccinated for Tick-borne encephalitis virus. It's recommended for people who are outdoors a lot , but it's a 2 stage process and not suitable for everybody and it does have side affects.
- ticks jump from trees. No, you can get ticks through many ways, but that they sit in a tree and jump down on a biker is extremely unlikely. They usually are in the grass and bushes, 1-2 feet high and are waiting for someone to come by.
- You got to turn the tick when you pull it out. Absolute nonsense, the tick didn't drill into you, so there is no need to do that! You actually increase the risk of tearing the tick apart and leaving a body part under your skin.
- Or cover the tick in oil to get it out easy. A huge DO NOT! Oil, butter etc. may cause the tick to suffocate and even throw up into your blood stream, which increases the risk of an infection.
How to avoid ticks:
Usually you will find ticks in slightly higher grass in the woods and more likely near streams and creeks. But they can also be found in parks and gardens and back yards. Here they wait until you come by and they hold on to your legs or the hair on your legs. A tick won't bite immediately, it will first crawl on you to find the perfect spot, this can take hours.
You will feel it crawl, but you won't feel the bite as the tick makes the spot it's going to bite into, numb first.
They usually look for warm, moist areas on your skin and where thinner skin can be found.
So, armpits, scalp, genital areas etc.
So stay on the path/trail and stay away from grass and deeper woods.
You can spray your body and clothing with deet. Deet repels ticks and mosquitoes etc.
The Center for Disease Control recommends 30-50% DEET to prevent the spread of pathogens carried by insects.
Off Deep woods for example has 30% deet.
Deet however is also pretty aggressive and can dissolve plastics, so some people might experience burning on their skin or even an allergic reaction.
Well, there is something else....Icaridin! (Also called Picaridin)
Tested by the European army, it's been proven to be as effective as deet, but way more skin friendly!
Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent contains 20% Icaridin.
You can combine that with Citriodol, another natural repellent and you will have an excellent tick and bug repellant, like a higher percentage deet.
It is possible to get a tick by riding through higher grass or coming in contact with little bushes.
The best thing to do, is to look for them after a ride and take a shower as soon as you get home, also shake out clothing, because they can also be in there.
Water won't kill it, but maybe it gets rinsed off of you while you take a shower.
So, what to do, after you were bitten?
Well, first thing is don't panic! It's important to get it out the right and proper way.
Grab them with some tweezers as close to the skin as possible and and pull upright. You don't want to damage the tick or pull the body off and the head sticks still in your skin.
You can also buy a tick card which helps to pull a tick out and it can be put in your wallet like a credit card.
If you have a very small tick, then consider going to your doctor to get it properly removed.
Once you got it out, disinfect the bite! Also don't throw the tick away, tape it to some paper and keep it.
Even though you might forget about the bite rather quickly, it is important to watch out for symptoms after the bite and always tell your doctor that you are outdoors and/or you had been bitten.
Statistically, the amount of time the tick was on you is in direct correlation to the infection risk. Well, first off, not all ticks are infected and will spread the disease. But within 12 hours the risk of getting an infection is pretty low, however cases have been reported after just a couple of hours.
So, what to do if you have symptoms after a bite:
The bulletproof sign that you have Lyme disease is the Bullseye around the biting area. Red in the center and another red circle around, the bullseye. See your doctor ASAP.
Unfortunately, the bullseye as well as the symptoms don't show always! You can get LD without ever having had a bullseye. Also, symptoms and/or the bullseye can occur days, weeks, even years later!
So, for that, you need a good doctor who is capable of making the diagnosis quick and will test for it.
Early signs and symptoms -
These signs and symptoms may occur within a month after you've been infected:
Rash. A small, red bump may appear at the site of the tick bite. This small bump is normal after a tick bite and doesn't indicate Lyme disease. However, over the next few days, the redness may expand forming a rash in a bull's-eye pattern, with a red outer ring surrounding a clear area. The rash, called erythema migrans, is one of the hallmarks of Lyme disease. Some people develop this rash at more than one place on their bodies.
Flu-like symptoms. Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches and a headache may accompany the rash.
Later signs and symptoms -
In some people, the rash may spread to other parts of the body and, several weeks to months after you've been infected, you may experience:
Joint pain. You may develop bouts of severe joint pain and swelling. Your knees are especially likely to be affected, but the pain can shift from one joint to another.
Neurological problems. Weeks, months or even years after you were infected, you may experience inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of one side of your face (Bell's palsy), numbness or weakness in your limbs, and impaired muscle movement.
Less common signs and symptoms -
Several weeks after infection, some people develope:
Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat. Heart problems rarely last more than a few days or weeks.
Liver inflammation (hepatitis).
The diagnosis is not easy, that's why you need a competent doctor who can do this! Also, many times, doctors will say, oh...it can't be that....well insist that he/she tests you for it. This subject is rather difficult and I am not a doctor.
...love is the absence of fear....
Awesome summary on tick bites!
I'd like to clarify that DEET is not an effective tick repellent, but permetrhrins do the job, at least according to this Lyme Disease Web site:
DEET vs. Permethrin as a Tick Repellent
Permethrins are applied to clothing, rather than skin.
Thanks for the section on how to remove the tick; that is very useful.
Can't really slack on tick awareness. There are multiple illnesses transmitted by tick bites, Lyme Disease is just one among many: Tickborne Diseases of the U.S.
(Gotta love the CDC)
Pretty good summary. In SoCal we have tons of ticks. And while there is a main season when they are out (spring Mar-May) I got some on me every month of the year the last couple years. If you ride trails which have a lot of overgrowth I would definitely check for them a few times during the ride, more often if you are finding some on you. You may feel them on your leg but not always, and you won't feel them on your clothing. They crawl upwards so tucking in your jersey will make it harder for them to get to your skin. All of the bites I've had have been on my stomach, chest, and side/lower back and they likely crawled up off my shorts. Wearing light clothing also helps as they are easier to spot. If you don't find any during the ride definitely check at the end. The times I was bitten were days I didn't find them on me during the ride, but did find them starting to bury in once I got home.
A comment on tick removal - the mention of not using butter or oil to make the tick back out voluntarily is absolutely correct. I often hear people say to put vaseline over it, even peanut butter to get the tick to release. My understanding is that you are at the greatest risk of infection when the tick is done feeding and backs out, because it will regurgitate some fluid back into you, which is what often transmits the bacteria. If you put any oil, vaseline, etc on it to get the tick to release voluntarily it will do the same thing. So you want to remove it involuntarily. The tick key is the best way because it grabs as close to the base of the head as possible, and it pulls the tick away from you rather than squeezing it directly with tweezers. Use tweezers if you have to, but I've read this can cause the tick to spit some fluid back into you, which is what you want to avoid. Its preferable to get the entire head but its not the end of the world if you don't. Put some antibiotic cream and monitor it for symptoms.
Why I always check a bunch of times during a ride. Can you imagine not catching this mess on you?
In SoCal brush growth is relentless so you are often brushing against this or that
Here's a closeup of what is in front of me. Sorry its blurry but you get the idea
Boy, I hate ticks. This is some useful information... Thanks! Will be curious to see the opinions on tweezers vs. tick key. I've used both methods, but felt the tick key was more of a getting the tick to voluntarily back out since there's no real way to force it out. I do tweezers now, nice sharp and pointy ones that I can dig in a little bit to make sure I always get the head and do it quickly and swiftly.
evdog, that's one of the craziest pictures I have seen. Aside from you and others I hope no dog has to go through there.
...love is the absence of fear....
I went on a ride this weekend and found three on me, but only one bit me. There's a small bump where I was bit, but nothing serious. Good info! +rep
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
Great info, being relatively new to the US this is extremely useful to know. Thankfully I've not found a tick yet, but sure it will only be a matter of time.
i find one on me.....then i start thinking and get the feeling of them all over me although they are not. i very much dislike ticks.
we have tons of overgrowth including poison ivy, so I have a post-ride tecnu ritual that also happens to remove ticks 100% of the time so far (knock on wood). I knocked off about 20 after a recent ride, none of them had time to bite. Since I scrub down much of my body to remove the urushiol, it's very unlikely that a tick can hang on. If I didn't have to worry about poison ivy so much, I'd probably get a lot more tick bites from delayed showering. So, consider developing a poison ivy allergy and brushing against the stuff on all your summer rides
When I was you young kid, maybe 8 or 9, I found what I thought was a scab on my head. After digging at it for a while through my hair, I pulled out a Tick that had swollen to the size of a Peanut M &M - no hyperbole. I've been sufficiently creeped out by those little buggers since. So make sure to check for Ticks everywhere, including your head.
Good info thanks for posting. I'm one non hairy dude and am outside all the time. Never had a tick on me. Must not like beaners.
Another tick-borne illness is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Most common symptoms are fever, headache, muscle pain, and a rash, and usually occur 1-2 weeks after a bite. The rash usually begins at the extremities and spreads towards your trunk/core. Fever, rash, and history of tick bite are usually the determining factors in diagnosis, but many doctors are not familiar with it. Don't let the name fool you, it is common throughout the US, not just the Rocky Mountains. It can be fatal, as 3-5% will die who get it. Long term effects can be neurological, paralysis, hearing loss, etc. Luckily it can be treated with common antibiotics.
My father had it before I was born. Not a good time for him... this was in southeastern Wyoming.
Just wanted to let people know that there is more than just Lyme disease to worry about! Ticks are nasty!
Good information here especially about Permethrins but what if you're wearing shorts? Will ticks not attach to areas not covered by your shorts?
I haven't encountered any ticks on the trails I ride regularly but I do think about them if I happen to walk off the trail for some reason. Definitely want to get something with Permethrins for out of town trips.
Treating your riding clothes with permethrin will at least keep them from climbing inside and latching on in a hidden location. They could still cling on to exposed areas, but it will kill them if they try to crawl across the fabric, and they're easier to spot if they're forced to hang out in the open. I've also started to shave my legs like a roadie, and haven't picked up a single tick since. That's after picking up a tick every few days, on average.
Originally Posted by bitewerks
FWIW, I've never found any other repellent to be really effective against ticks. I've tried 100% DEET and picaridin, and have gotten ticks while using each.
Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.
Just pulled off an adult lone star tick last night. F*cker. Called my doc and will go on a ten day course of doxycycline. Treated the tick to a one way ticket to my 3M packing tape vacation.
'12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
'13 Specialized Carve Comp
'94 S-Works M2
Pulled a tick off my side this morning. Luckily I'm already on doxycycline for my upcoming LASIK surgery.
Don't be misinformed about ticks no more and don't let it ruin your passion!
Wow this post scares me and i dont even live in Cali. Wont the alligator legs on the shorts keep the ticks out of your private regions? That picture with them all over the shorts is enough to make me crazy!
"Im just going to explore a little bit..."
Dont make me be the bad guy...
Do I need a pass to ride this trail?
Great post. I'm in week 2 of anti-biotics after a spider bit me in early July. I also had a sever case of Lyme when I was 18. I spent a week in the hospital and couldn't walk for a month. Ticks and bug bites are scary and you should be very aware of them if you spend anytime in the woods.
2013 Transition TransAM 29er
2011 Yeti 303R DH
2012 Banshee Spitfire V1.5
I was bit by a tick this weekend. I was ignorant and just pulled it out and didn't think that some of its head could still be inside me. What is the appropriate approach to this? Should I automatically go make a Dr. apt or should I wait for side effects? I'm a minor hypochondriac and I'd be lying if I said paranoia hasn't already slightly settled in.
This exact thing happened to my son last summer when he was 7. Barber even thought it was a scab she hadn't noticed before. What's disappointing is the lack of knowledge our whole pediatric practice and the local ER had on the subject. Dr Google to the rescue. All signs point to it being attached for about 7-10 days. Remove it. Test it or no. Put him on medicine or no? He was given meds as a precaution and everything turned out fine.
Originally Posted by Jeremy1983
I've got a collection going in labeled ziplock bags.
Since my son's experience we've found that our vet actually knows what and how to do everything needed, including identifying the tick for potential diseases carried and shipping it off to a lab facility for testing. If in doubt and you're not getting a unified proactive approach from your people Dr's check with a Vet.
Today I just cared for an otherwise healthy young male, in the hospital, wiped out by early disseminated Lyme disease.
He will get better, but after 2 weeks of IV antibiotics , and no insurance, his wallet will be recouperating for a few years. If the thought of the illness doesn't get you, think about the financial implications of the cost of care, and of not working for a few weeks.
Keep an eye out for the funky rash of erythema migrans that may follow an un-noticed tick visitor. Most often infected people show up sick with a rash and never even knew they had a tick on them.
This thread doesn't really cover the distinction between Dog Ticks and their Lyme Disease infested cousins, the Deer Tick. Both can carry disease, but Dog Ticks do not cause Lyme.
I've found numerous ticks, as many as a dozen, on my person after rides. Primarily when riding in Kentucky on vacation.
What scares me is that the ones I've found are usually sizable enough to be easy to spot, though they can blend in with trail dirt quite easily. I believe them all Dog Ticks/Wood Ticks, which are much larger than some stages of lyme disease carrying Deer Ticks.
Would you spot the smallest ticks in this photo???
I've also found that they usually end up on my legs, and frequently start digging by the end of a long ride, right into the calf/shin areas. My weapon of choice is a very sharp, pointed tweezer. I make sure to pinch and remove a bit of skin below the head. This ensures the entire head and body is removed.
Is it normal to treat with antibiotics for a bite with no symptoms? If I'm reading right, it sounds like some of you do that. That seems excessive, no? I'd be on antibiotics more than half the year if I took that approach. Although, while I've peeled off a good number of them, I'm pretty certain I had always got them no more than a few hours after digging in and always dog ticks.
I know a girl with lyme and it is a nightmare. Docs thought ms, md, in her head, everything. Texas will not cover this and claims it dosen't exist here, She has a port straight into her heart to shoot antiboitics. She hasn't walked in three years. All out of pocket. F lymes
Last edited by bamwa; 07-17-2013 at 05:28 PM.
Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.
If you catch a spider/tick bite early antibiotics take of it almost 100% of the time. But if a bite is ignored for awhile it can get to the point where the disease gets into your blood, bones, brain, etc. It can be crippling if its not take care of.
Originally Posted by dirtdan
There's a troubling doc about Lyme disease called "Under Our Skin." It talks to people who have been crippled by Lyme. Its troubling to see how serious it can get.
Under Our Skin | The Hidden Story of Lyme Disease
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