Jul 28th, 2012 by Jennifer Lynn
Due to an itsy-bitsy tick munching into the crook of my arm, I spent most of yesterday at the doctor’s office being treated for tick bite.
(And a slight burn, but more on that later.)
Thursday morning, M. and I discussed whether to camp out for one more night or head to Boston for the day before starting our eight-hour return journey home. The Cape Ann, Massachusetts forecast called for afternoon and evening thunderstorms, with strong winds and potential hail, so we both agreed it would be pretty miserable breaking camp with a soggy tent and water-laden equipment.
As we debated over our early morning brewed-over-a-fire coffee, a few fat raindrops began to fall. M. immediately sprung into action and leapt into the tent. Momentarily, I heard a bunch of clattering/banging, followed by some curse words, and what sounded like a frantic struggle to roll/cram equipment into prospective compartments.
Humming, I lifted Lexi into my lap and cradled her in my arms to nurse. That’s when I noticed a black speck in the crease of my right crook. I brushed at the spot but it appeared to be embedded into my skin.
There were tiny legs and a small ass swaying in the breeze, pointing straight up at me.
“Ummm..honey? What does a tick look like?”
Silence. Then: “I’ll be right out.”
M. unzipped the tent and stepped over to the log Lexi and I were lounging on to examine my arm.
“Yep, it’s a tick, all right.”
Oh god. There was a pinkish patch of irritation creeping beneath where the teeny blood-sucker had latched on.
M. raised an eyebrow, lit a cigarette, and took a long, cool drag, before announcing: “We’re going to burn it off.”
That which ensued was a trauma resembling a comedy routine: Lexi twisted in my lap and burst into giggles as I yelped in pain, while M. tried to burn the damn thing off with his cigarette — the tick was tiny and the cherry was burning into my skin! — We were in a hurry and admittedly it was not the best decision, but the relentless black tick finally did let go with head intact.
I also received a lovely slight burn mark in the process.
By the way, burning a tick off is not the proper procedure for tick removal, as we later learned. Apparently, putting the tick under any duress (like scalding it with a cigarette, or coating it in Vasoline for suffocation, etc.) may cause the itty critter to puke up its guts and act as a syringe, plunging whatever gunk/bacteria held in its stomach straight into your wound.
Here is the proper method for tick removal, as per the CDC website:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
Totally freaked out, I visited the doctor yesterday and was prescribed antibiotics for the (rare) occurrence of Lyme Disease and, in a few weeks, as a precautionary measure, will contact the Health Department to have blood work done for further evaluation.
My week-long camping adventure in Cape Ann: fun as hell.
Getting bitten by a tick on our last day: not so much.