tick, lime disease question - how long do I have?

Hey ho - During a short vacation in SC I found a small tick walking on my belly. Here are the circumstances:

early morning - went to a state park (some swamp - many catapillers) - went back to hotel room around noon - showered, napped and went to another park just east of Columbia. from lets say 2-6. Then had dinner - returened to room around 8pm - found tick wandering around on my stomach.

Scopped up the little bugger and put him/her in a baggie - it is still alive.

Now I think the tick is from the 2nd park visit as I think it wouldn’t hang around during my shower but you never know. What is the chance this guy/gal bit me and moved on? The only other time i got one she burrowed maybe 1/4 - 3/8" into my skin (I did find out that that one was a female deer tick).

The ticks that carry Lyme disease are very small. If you could pick it up with your hands, it probably wasn’t a deer tick. Take a look at this picture http://www.lymenet.org/picture1.shtml and compare the size against the fish hook.

The Lyme Disease Network http://www.lymenet.org/ is an excellent online source of information.

Be aware that Lyme Disease is a controversial one. The split seems to be among the science-based medicine crowd, and the other, very vocal one with anecdotes. The science-based crowd says that Lyme is detectable, easily treatable with oral antibiotics, and not that serious if treated. Many people believe they have “chronic” Lyme disease, but there is no evidence for such a thing, and reliable evidence against it. People who feel bad, whether it’s psychosomatic or an undiagnosed condition, tend to blame it on real things they’ve heard about such as Lyme Disease, or made-up ones like Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Gulf War Illness.

A better place to start is the Quackwatch Lyme Page.

If the tick was walking around on your belly it means that it had not yet bitten you and there’s no way that it could have transmitted anything.

Ticks usually bite, become engorged with blood then drop off, don’t they? - certainly in the case of all the (sheep)ticks that I’ve ever seen when we had dogs, they were only ever bloated like a grape when we found them crawling around free.

From here:

Not impossible, just unlikely.

Lyme is scary stuff. We live about a half-hour from Lyme, CT - ground-zero for this mess. We’re pretty tick concious, always checking the horses, dogs, and cat for the little beasts. When my wife was three months pregnant, she had a deer tick embedded in her shoulder. This was especially worrisome as Lyme can really cause a lot of fetal problems. Her doctor, even though she was under the 36 hour mark, put her on a course of antibiotics just to be safe.

Thanks for the picture - the one i have (it’s now dead - or at least looks dead) just bearly measures 1/16" at it’s largest point. so it may be a male.

I live in Lyme Heaven, a part of New York State with a huge problem. Here’s what I was told by my County Health Dept. Officer.

  1. They feed until engorged, then they do fall off. And, you can truly tell by eye if it is engorged.
  2. Try to remove a tick quickly, with no warning. That means, do NOT use vaseline, butter or heat to try to get it to " withdraw". Ticks will panic and actually release more saliva as they are being distressed, therefore increasing your chance of being exposed. Simply take tweezers, and slide one tine of the tweezer under it quickly, grasp it and pull it out. It’s not a bee, if a bit of it is left, it will not infect you more rapidly.
  3. I was told that it has to feed for up to 24 hours before you are truly exposed. As pointed out above, there is a HUGE amount of controversy regarding exposures and treatments.
    These are just the remarks I was given, firsthand by the local guru. I was in with a live tick, that I’d managed to take off my son’s body. We looked at it under the scope, and it was indeed a deer tick. Pink stuff for the boy from the Dr., and we hoped for the best.

Tick Removal Guide is pretty comprehensive.

This Tick Bite and Lyme Disease Site is also excellent.

Best way to find out? We do a tick search after the kids have been outside. Wife does daughter, I do son. Nothing beats a visual check.


I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as a kid, and I’m still one of the few survivors I’ve known or heard of. It’s also tick-transmitted, and although it’s apparently not as common as Lyme disease, it’s nasty, nasty stuff.
Vague, flu-like symptoms (I had a massive migraine), loss of appetite, etc, so it’s very easy to misdiagnose. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to treat, IF the drs figure out what it is early enough. Unfortunately, I think the mortality window is about 12-14 days. :frowning: I was in day 12 of symptoms before an ER doctor finally caught on.
We have lots of ticks here, so I’m pretty paranoid about diseases too.