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Harvard Health Blog
Matchless strategy for tick removal; 6 steps to avoid tick bites
- By Patrick J. Skerrett, Former Executive Editor, Harvard Health
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Ticks are very dangerous if left alone and everyone in the household can also be infested with ticks. Also ticks can be present even in winter months, so it would be better if a great deal of prevention is being carried out.
I Haven’t meet somewhere but i see and i read your article many things i’d learned to avoid tick bites of this pest. The tips are helpful with us. Thanks for your kind for sharing this information.
We have the same problem in our house. No matter what we do on our dog it seems to catch this tick always and its getting insane very much. Since the ticks are all over the house! Do I need pest control or something? We already treated the dog with tick medicines- front line and some powders!
Awesome post about disease and some related major problem,like as “Some people with Lyme disease and some community doctors have argued that Borrelia burgdorferi can somehow evade courses of antibiotics and become a chronic infection that needs long-term antibiotic treatment—even though conventional antibody tests are negative. Chronic Lyme disease has been blamed for causing pain, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of memory and thinking skills, and a host of other problems”. great article .thanks
We here in South Orange County California dont get many cases of ticks. As a Veterinarian prevention is the key. Take all necessary precautions when out in shaded woody areas. Avoid taking pet into these area as well.
Thank you for publishing this article. The prevention of Lyme disease is so important because if you actually get Lyme disease most doctors will deny you have it.
Just like the majority of the other comments, the idea that Lyme is hard to catch and easy to treat is ridiculous. I wish that for just one week these non believers could experience the full list of our worst symptoms. Or watch one of their loved ones suffer for a week and then see if their opinions change.
Your statement: Some people with Lyme disease and some community doctors have argued that Borrelia burgdorferi can somehow evade courses of antibiotics and become a chronic infection that needs long-term antibiotic treatment—even though conventional antibody tests are negative.
Interesting. My bloodwork is negative; however a spinal tap shows that my cerebral spinal fluid is high positive for lyme. Do I have chronic lyme & need long term antibiotics occasionally? You betcha. Take away my treatment & I will be on disability and/or welfare.
Thank you for mentioning that some people and their doctors believe that Lyme can evade even extended antibiotics and can persist in spite of negative antibody tests. It is great to see this view acknowledged.
However, the statement that “most” experts do not believe in chronic Lyme is misleading. It is an opinion, not a fact, as the number of “experts” who deny persistence has never been quantified. Neither have the number of doctors who treat Lyme, knowing that it’s tough to kill and knowing they can experience negative consequences in their field should world get out they’re treating past the guidelines. Such treating physicians have become self-taught experts, who know far more about the disease than a government health official who has never seen a patient, or an Ivy League researcher who only sees carefully pre-screened patients who fit in a narrow definition for a study.
There are at least 77 different scientific articles and peer reviewed studies showing persistence in animals and in humans. The scientific evidence of persistence after infection and without positive antibody tests has been in the public domain for years. The “experts” have chosen to ignore or dismiss all of this evidence in order to maintain their orthodoxy. I imagine it would be extremely difficult for these “experts” to admit they’re wrong given the extent to which they’ve gone to defend their position, including testifying against dissenting physicians (in lawsuits and in front of medical boards) and leaving patients to a life of misery without adequate treatment.
Instead of responding to the available scientific evidence, or aggressively pursing better tests (such as Advanced Labs Culture test or the new method developed by Norwegian professors), they call the chronic Lyme proponents “Loonies” and insist their treating physicans are all ripping them off with unnecessary treatment. How can tens of thousands of patients and hundreds of doctors be so wrong? How can the number be growing so fast if it’s all a fraud? It’s time for a new batch of “experts” who aren’t beholden to past opinions, and who can look at available evidence to find the truth.
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Most Lyme disease experts don’t believe active infection persists after antibiotic treatment and once blood tests are negative for antibodies. They’ve been critical of what they see as unreliable tests for infection and unwarranted, possibly harmful, long-term antibiotic therapy.
I think perhaps this might be more accurate if it said, “Most Infectious Disease experts…”
Certainly Lyme experts are critical of many of the tests, but most Lyme experts are treating many people who are not recovering after standard courses of antibiotics.
My mastitis was not cured by a standard course of abx. I nearly died.
Lyme is not a magic disease where all people are cured by a standard course of abx.
I became very ill with Lyme Disease . A standard course of abx again, did not cure me. Many people are like me.
There are so many coinfections that must be treated too. Most doctors do not treat Lyme and Coinfections adequately , so people remain ill, and the disease progresses.
To believe that Lyme is a miracle disease where all people are easily cured by standard courses of abx is insanity.
According to a research study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (2002) only 9% of the 10,936 patients enrolled had the classic “bull’s-eye” rash that is diagnostic of Lyme disease. Over-emphasis on the rash – which granted, is the easiest sign to recognize – has led to over-reliance on this marker and a misperception that most people with Lyme develop the rash.
Since few doctors recognize Lyme without objective signs like the rash, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that almost everyone gets a rash. Steere himself reported on early Lyme with no rash (American Journal of Medicine, 2003).
It is important not to rely too heavily on a sign that has been part of the case definition almost since day one, since there is no way to verify its prevalence without indulging in circular logic.
Unfortunately with all diseases there are people who do not respond to a standard course of antibiotics. I nearly died from Mastitis. I needed hospitalization and IV for the treatment of my mastitis.
I was long term, untreated, after being bitten by a tick.
I became chronically ill. A standard course of abx was insufficient to treat my Lyme, just as it was with the mastitis.
Unfortunately it is the same for many people.
Lyme Disease is not a magic illness where everyone is cured by a standard course of abx.
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