Deer Tick Bites

Updated on July 30, 2013
J.S. asks from New York, NY
12 answers

My son was bitten by a tick...I wanted my ped to pretreat just in case for Lymes! She said no and just to wait to see if he gets any symptoms.this is so frustrating....has this happened to anyone else and is this the protocol now just wait? dr put me on a 10 day antibiotic 3 yrs ago when this happened to me!

Thanks in advance

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So What Happened?

Because ppl keep asking...YES it was a deer tick..probably In the nymph was so tiny like a small fleck of pepper...and yes I put it on tape to keep it. (Not sure if they can test a tick that small)
Also when my dr put me on medication as a precaution it was her idea not mine.

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answers from New York on

Was it really a deer tick or a basic tick? Why would you treat a child with antibiotics for no reason. Just keep an eye on it. Did you get the whole thing out?

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answers from Washington DC on

Most doctors won't prescribe antibiotics without a proper diagnosis. Try not to worry. My son has had Lyme and the bulls-eye rash was the proof. We pulled another tick off him this summer, no rash. He even got a fever three weeks later, but it was a virus unrelated to the tick. Breathe. Monitor the bite area. If you removed the tick within the first 36 hours or so, chances are he's fine. I've been where you are, and panicked too. Try to relax, just keep your eye on it. If he gets the rash or fever-like symptoms, see the doc again.

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answers from Boston on

I don't think they treat pre-emptively for tick bites - overuse of antibiotics and all that. Then if something does happen, the antibiotics don't work because we've bred a whole bunch of "super bugs".

Not to make you nervous, but there are actually worse things than Lyme that come from tick bites. So it's more important to watch for symptoms of everything. Most ticks are not infected.

Do you know for sure that it was a deer tick and not a dog tick? There are so many varieties of ticks out there.

I had a tick bite, removed the tick carefully (I read about putting liquid soap on a cotton ball and kind of smothering the tick so it lets go naturally and all of it comes out), and just put a localized antibiotic cream on the area. I had no problems.

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answers from Washington DC on

The tick needs to be implanted for more than 24 hours for you to get Lyme.
The deer tick is itty bitty.
If it was a regular dog tick, he won't get Lyme from that.

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answers from Norfolk on

Hi, J.S.

Did you have to pull the tick off of your son?
Was it a little red tick?

What kind of tick was it?
Are there any marks where the tick bit your son?

Just want to know.



answers from New York on

I understand why your doc doesn't want to pretreat with antibiotics. You don't know what, if anything, that tick was carrying, so pretreating could be a dangerous shot in the dark.

What I don't agree is with the complete wait-and-see approach. A lot of tick-borne illnesses have fairly long incubation periods (during which a patient is asymptomatic), and it seems dangerous and pointless just to wait for symptoms to manifest.

Instead, I would recommend waiting a bit and then insisting on bloodwork, symptoms or not. Where I get sort of clueless, though, is how long that waiting period should be. But please ask around.



answers from Bismarck on

I see questions on this site quite often in regards to ticks, and to be honest, I'm taken aback by everyone's over-reactions. I live in tick central! It is nothing to sit down for a relaxing summer evening, each family member with a dog and pick 20 or 30 ticks off of them...and that's AFTER they've been treated each month. Fortunately, ticks really don't care for M., so I've only had about 4 or 5 this summer, but they love my husband. He has probably had as many as 20 this year. My kids both end up with as many as 10 or 12, every year...and not one of us have ever gotten sick. Seriously, your chances of getting sick are VERY, VERY slim. Obviously, you want to be very careful when removing them, clean it well, and watch it closely for signs of infection, but really, it is NOT necessary to go to the doctor for a tick bite. If it makes you feel better, you can save the tick in a zip-lock bag in case any symptoms do appear, but really, J. try to relax and enjoy the summer. We, as humans, have co-habitated on this planet with these bugs for an awful long time, and we aren't extinct yet.



answers from Richmond on

Antibiotics for no reason are dangerous. I just lost a dear friend earlier this year to liver failure caused by overuse of antibiotics and ibuprofen. I think it is wise for your Dr. to wait.


answers from Columbia on

Just keep an eye on the bite area. It's more than likely that he'll be fine.

For future reference, to remove a tick, you should gently pull with steady pressure, using tweezers (very carefully) or fingers until the tick lets go with it's mouthparts.

You should absolutely NOT put anything onto the tick to make it back out, as doing so is actually suffocating the tick, which causes it to regurgitate anything it its stomach (including anything it ate before it bit), increasing chances of infection or disease.

If you live in a high Lyme area, put the captured tick into a sealed jar and save it in case symptoms occur. Clean the bite area with antibacterial soap and plenty of clean water. Lyme is a trio of bacteria and nothing kills bacteria better than soap and water.



answers from Washington DC on

I'm assuming here that you didn't keep the tick? If not -- did you see it on him and are you certain it's a deer tick? If you did keep it, be sure it's in a plastic bag and demand that your doctor get it tested now, or get it immediately to your local public health department; they can test it for Lyme. Yes, the tick itself can be tested and if it's positive your child should be put on preventive treatments right away; if it's negative, you're good to go.

Be aware (and be very sure your doctor is aware) that while Lyme often comes with a "bullseye-shaped" rash, there are times when the rash never develops, or is never seen, but Lyme is still present. If the doctor is going entirely by waiting for a rash, I would see another doctor. My friend's child started to feel very tired and "draggy" and that was the only initial sign they had that she had Lyme; they did not even know she'd been bitten and there was no rash or it was never spotted. (Ticks love hidden, damp and dark spots like the groin or armpits so it's easy to miss the rash.) The family had been in a very Lyme-heavy area so the mom suspected that the tiredness could be Lyme and took her daughter to the doctor right away. The girl was immediately tested and treated and now is fine and Lyme-free with no damage. But you need to be very attuned to your child's overall health in case there's no rash!



answers from Tulsa on

To give an antibiotic because of a tick bite is just silly in my opinion. I think YOUR doctor (not the ped) was way off base in his treatment, and probably was just trying to make you happy. Props to the ped for doing what is better for the child and not just treating for the parent. Perhaps is because I grew up in the country and had tick bites in the summers that this just seems insane, but I've never even considered going to the doctor for a tick bite. I would of course if I saw any signs of infection, but after 30 years and countless tick bites, I've yet to develop lyme disease (or anything else). Take a deep breath, Mom, he'll be fine. And for the record, the protocol has never been antibiotics for a bite without any symptoms.



answers from Boston on

I've had more experience with Lyme than I'd like. I agree with others who've said there's minimal to no risk if the tick has been locked on for less than 24 hours. Also, from what I've heard from my vet and my doctor, it takes 2 weeks post-tick bite for the antibodies to appear. If your pediatrician was to test your son too soon, he'd test negative & give you a false sense of security. Better to educate yourself about the symptoms as there are more than just the bull's eye rash and to wait, as your doctor suggested. If necessary, get the blood test when it has a better chance to be accurate.

Oh -- and standard treatment is a 30 day cycle of doxycyclin, not 10 days.

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