I never thought in a million years that I’d be worried about contracting Lyme Disease. Yes, we have ticks. Plenty of them to be exact…but we don’t live in a high risk zone. However, I now know we live in a state-size neighborhood known for Lyme activity.
When most think of Lyme Disease they immediately think of northeastern United States – the New England states. Well known for being a hot bed of tick infestation, Lyme Disease has run rampant in that part of the country. But, as luck would have it, my neighbors to the east, Minnesota and Wisconsin are seeing a rapid increase in prevalence of this illness.
Outside of those areas, Lyme Disease can still be found throughout the US but it is unlikely. Wooded and grassy areas are beloved stomping grounds for Blacklegged Ticks and Deer Ticks that carry the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. They promptly find their host by rubbing off of tall grasses and dropping from overhead tree limbs. For us, they freely enter our home via not only our own clothing but via the dogs and the cat.
Tick season is a nasty time of year. I’ve found ticks climbing walls in the kitchen, laundry room and our bedroom. Nightmares abound! I’ve woken up with dreams of a tick crawling on my face, only to find one actually crawling across my forehead! The list of stories could go on.
This year alone, I’ve crossed paths with 3, very friendly ticks who decided to become enamored with me. So much so, they became attached…barf right?! One behind my ear, one on the back of my neck at the hairline and one on my side at bra strap level.
The latter of the 3 bites was the one oddball bite that ultimately sent me to the doctor’s office. Of course, I didn’t recognize any signs of becoming sick but my body did have a slight reaction to this particular bite.
Around bra strap level I started getting some itching, swelling and minor irritation. Pulling up my shirt I finally saw a red dot where I had removed a tick one week prior. I added some essential oils and went on with my day.
Over the next week as the itching diminished, I noticed the redness spreading. I asked my husband to look at it, I applied antibiotic cream and a band-aid to prevent the area from rubbing against my bra. No dice. It stayed slightly swollen with now a near-bullseye appearance. Under the size of a dime I still had very little concern, I just thought it was irritation from my bra.
Fast forward to last night, I had my husband look at it again…the size of a nickel. He urged me to go to a local clinic to have it checked out.
While reality was sinking in, I realized a few things. Previous bites had never followed this “healing” process. Yes, I thought it was just inflamed and was trying to heal…and I thought I was a bright girl. None of my other bites had ever turned even the slightest bit red. Nothing itched, nothing swelled up and nothing ever stayed with me so long. Until now.
Fast forward to the time of my appointment…I may be worrying for nothing. Initial diagnosis is a reaction to the tick bite but the likelihood of it being Lyme are slim. Due to the fact that major carriers of the disease are super tiny Deer Ticks (which supposedly we don’t have around here) the doc wasn’t very concerned. I was prescribed a triple antibiotic ointment and sent on my way with orders to come back should I develop a fever.
Over the following week, my bite slowly disappeared. My worry is gone and I’ve become more educated about ticks in our area. That’s not to say I enjoy ticks creeping around my person…I don’t. I just know there is less to be concerned with should I find one who decides to become a little too infatuated with me.