Toronto is my former home city where I was born and raised in the suburbs without hearing a word about ticks. It wasn’t until I moved to Osceola, WI in 2009 that I saw firsthand a bloated tick attached to my beloved puppy and FREAKED OUT! As in screamed out loud “Tiiiiick” and then immediately called the FrontLine company to inform them that their product does, in fact, NOT work.
Yup, crazy lady.
I’m much better now – almost a professional tick remover at this point.
Finding a tick on your dog is one thing. Find a tick on you is another. Given the season, I’ve been getting many calls inquiring as to action to take post tick bite. What would I do if I got bit by a tick?
Step #1 – Test the tick
Now this I know I would do because I did. A few years back, I discovered a tick feeding away on my thigh. The bite spot was red, swollen and sore – Lyme disease for sure. I sent the tick off to IGeneX in California to test if it was infected. Three weeks and $200 later I got the “all clear” – an uninfected tick.
No Lyme. No antibiotics. Peace of mind.
Luckily, this same service through Neuroscience has become more accessible and cost effective in recent years. A prepaid TicKit™, which includes a removal tool and container and shipping information, costs $40 and is available here at True Health. No more waiting for symptoms!
Your tick will be tested for Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme), Bartonella, Ehrlichia and Babesia. Turnaround time is 10-14 days; however, they suggest calling them after 5 days as results may be available sooner. If the tick is infected, start the appropriate treatment protocol regardless of symptoms. If you get the all clear – happy days!
Step #2 – Start treatment if symptoms appear or your TicKit™ results are positive.
I’ve not experienced tick-borne infection like symptoms (fever, rash, excessive fatigue, random joint/muscle pain), so I can’t say for sure what I would do, but I think this is what I would do.
GET THE ROUND OF ANTIBIOTICS for least 3 weeks. If the bite was less than 2 weeks prior, there is no point in testing for antibodies as it would likely results in a false negative. Treatment would be given based on symptoms.
The reason I would wait for symptoms is that I’d want to give my body a chance to produce its own immune response if necessary and I don’t want to take antibiotics if I don’t need to. I’ve recently returned from a 2-day conference on the gut microbiome and the statistic given by Research Microbiologist Kiran Krishnan was that following a typical Clindamycin regime, it could take up to 2 years for the microbiome to recover. YIKES! Which takes us to Step #3…
Step #3 – Treat your body/immune system, not just the infection and symptoms.
While antibiotics are mostly effective (you should experience a noticeable change in your symptoms within 24 hours of being on the anti-biotics), they only help reduce the infection and act as an anti-inflammatory. Because antibiotics influence the composition of your gut bacteria, there are also potential side-effects such as antibiotic induced diarrhea, yeast infections, gut pain/indigestion, and increased risk of C. Difficile. If you are on an antibiotic for a tick-borne illness or other infection, I recommend supporting your health and immune system beyond the antibiotic. Some areas of health that may need additional support are:
The Digestive System Support digestive health with Endefen ; take 1-3 TBPS mixed with water before each dose of antibiotic. The arabinogalactans in Endefen work to protect and nourish the digestive system.
The Microbiome (Gut Bacteria) Replenish the microbiota with good yeast and bacteria. Take one Ultra Flora Acute (contains health promoting yeast) with the antibiotic and two Ultra Flora Balance (probiotic) at night before bed both during antibiotic treatment and 4 weeks after.
The Immune System Support the immune system with Immucore, 2-6 per day, until you are 100% symptom- free. This can be started at the first hint of symptoms and can be taken in conjunction with the antibiotic. Specifically for Lyme disease, following the antibiotic, I recommend Lyme Nosode homeopathic drops ( ½ dropper-full, 1-3 times per day depending on symptoms). This works GREAT for pets too!
Detoxification Since EVERY Lyme seminar I’ve ever been to always harps on the importance of supporting healthy detoxification systems during and post Lyme treatment, I often recommend Advaclear which is nutritional support for phase I and II liver detoxification ( 2 capsules twice to three times per day). Hot baths with one cup of Epsom salts and 2 cups of apple cider vinegar may be helpful too.
Please keep in mind that in natural medicine we treat the individual, not the disease or diagnosis, so there is no “cookie cutter” protocol that will suit everyone. But hopefully, this post provides you with some actionable steps that are more helpful than, “Do not try to burn the tick while it is attached to your skin,” as I came across earlier on the internet.
Now get outside and play during our wonderful summer season and don’t let those ticks get the better of you now that you know what to do!