This is Elizabeth's story about the evils of ticks.
Being a member of the Over-Fifty set, it's not every day that I experience something completely new.
The other day I found a tick firmly attached to my back. I had never before been bitten by a tick. Found one on my clothes once, plucked more than I care to count off our basset hound (you can really tell when the Frontline wears off), but never been bitten myself.
How did I get the tick? Our best guess is that I picked it up from our dog while grooming her. I had had my arms wrapped around her while clipping her toenails and the little bugger must have wandered onto me. We had been walking in the local park that morning, and being a good basset hound, she had her nose buried in many little rodent runs in the tall grass. She probably picked it up there. And I picked it up from her.
So what DOES it feel like to be bitten by a tick? Well, it didn't really hurt. Within a short time after grooming the dog, I started to notice a slight, dull itch and even scratched it a little. It wasn't bad so I ignored it and continued with my work. The odd feeling continued and several hours later it had grown more uncomfortable. The sensation was that of something pulling on your skin, definitely not as sharp as a pinch. Craning my neck to see, I saw a black dot where the annoying feeling was. My first thought was that I had a mole but then I got a mirror to check it better and, to my horror, I saw LEGS! Eeeek!
Presenting a pair of tweezers to my husband, I requested his immediate assistance in tick removal. This little pest had firmly embedded its mouthparts into my back, so he had to pull quite hard. The tick was not ready to leave as it had not yet started feeding (it's body had not started inflating with blood). Trying to pull the tick out, my husband eventually pulled the tick apart leaving the mouthparts embedded.
He cleaned the wound, dabbed on some antibiotic lotion and covered it with a band-aid. For several days afterward, the area around the wound was tender, but it quickly diminished and mostly healed except for a little red spot within a week. The first couple of days we kept an eye on the bite, cleaning it with antiseptic and covering it with antibiotic cream and a band-aid. At first, there was a very round white “bull's eye” around the red wound, with redness around the white spot. We wanted to make sure it didn't develop into the red-rash bull's eye symptom of Lyme disease. It's possible that the marks and the tenderness were actually caused by the trauma of the removal process and not the bite itself, it's hard to say for sure.
Whatever the case, I healed with the tick's mouthparts still embedded in my skin, and lived to tell the tale.