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Posts Tagged ‘Ticks’

Lyme Disease. By Our August Student Pharmacist, Ann Kuttothara.

Planning a road trip or camping trip soon? Here at Plain City Druggist, we want to keep you prepared to face anything! So in continuing with the summer theme of bug bites, today’s topic is Lyme disease.

The majority of Lyme disease cases are reported in 13 states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. The incidence of Lyme disease in Ohio has been decreasing so help to keep that statistic down by keeping an eye out for ticks!

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi which is passed to humans by blacklegged ticks. On the East Coast, this tick is called Ixodes scapularis and on the West Coast, the tick is Ixodes pacificus. A bite from an infected tick can result in a unique rash and Lyme disease. The official name of the rash is erythema migrans and it looks like a bull’s eye.

A tick bite can result in flu-like symptoms such as:

  • feeling tired
  • muscle or joint ache
  • headache
  • fever
  • chills

Even if a rash does not appear, tell your doctor about the exposure to ticks if any of these symptoms occur. Monitor for symptoms up to 30 days after tick exposure.

Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? So avoid Lyme disease by reducing your exposure to ticks and removing them if you detect one.

Use trails when outside and check often for ticks on clothing and hair.

Wear light colored clothes to identify ticks and wear long sleeves and long pants, which can prevent the tick from latching on to your skin.

Use repellants on clothing for an extra layer of protection (as described in Amy’s column: http://pcdblog.com/2013/07/insect-repellent-what-products-should-i-use-on-my-family-by-our-bite-free-july-student-pharmacist-amy-reed/).

The tick usually has to be attached to the skin for at least 36 hours to spread the bacteria. If a tick is found on the skin, it can be removed with tweezers (to refresh your memory on how to remove a tick, re-read Amy’s blog: http://pcdblog.com/2013/07/). Do not hesitate to mention the tick to your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms described above after removing the tick.

Treatment

Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotics. Visit your doctor if you notice the bull’s eye rash or experience symptoms. Early treatment is ideal for quick recovery. Symptoms such as muscle and joint ache can persist for months or years after a bite so make sure to visit the doctor as soon as you think there might be a problem.

For more information visit: http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

References (info and pictures obtained):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme disease. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

The Clinical Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention of Lyme Disease, Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Available from: http://cid.oxforjournals.org/content/43/9/1089.full

 

Spiders, Ticks, and Bees–Oh, My! Management of Bites and Stings By Our July Student Pharmacist, Amy Reed.

Have you ever had a lovely day in the great outdoors tarnished by the nuisance of a bite or sting? They can be uncomfortable and most people are unsure of how to treat themselves when a bite or sting occurs. We’re here to help you learn how to take care of any pesky encounters with bugs!

Here in Ohio, some of the most common offenders for stings and bites are bees, wasps, spiders, and ticks. If someone starts to swell excessively from a bite or sting, especially in the neck or facial region, they will need immediate medical attention. Most individuals with a known allergy (i.e. bee stings) should have an emergency EpiPen on their person. These people need that quick dose of epinephrine to keep their airways from swelling shut, and may even need to be taken to the emergency room or urgent care afterwards.

 

Management of:

 

Spider Bites:

  • Wash the bite area with soap and water and apply a cold compress (10 minutes on, then 10 minutes off for 30-60 minutes).
  • To prevent infection, use a topical antibiotic (ex. Neosporin).
  • For discomfort or pain, take Tylenol (acetaminophen).
  • Elevating the bite area can help reduce swelling.
  • If possible, catch the spider in a baggie for identification if any unusual symptoms occur.
  • Some spiders found in the Midwest are poisonous and may cause tissue damage (ex. Brown Recluse Spider and Black Widow Spider). If you experience the following symptoms, report to the nearest emergency room or urgent care:
    • Headache, fever, nausea/vomiting, cramping, dizziness, a blue/purple coloring around the bite with a whitish outer ring (like a bull’s eye), or a burning pain that is delayed (hours to days after the bite).

Tick Bites:

  • Remove the tick gently. Using fine tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible and pull gently. You do not want to puncture the tick’s body, as it contains contaminated blood from yourself and possibly other creatures that the tick has taken a bite out of. Do not try to dig out any remnants left in the skin as this may cause further damage.
  • Place the tick in a sealed plastic baggie. This will suffocate the tick and retain it just in case there is a risk of Lyme disease and it needs to be tested.
  • Wash the bite area with soap and water.
  • Apply a topical antibiotic to prevent infection (ex. Neosporin).

Bee Stings:

  • Remove stinger by gently scraping a flat object (like a credit card) across the skin. Do not use tweezers to pinch the stinger since there is a venom pouch on the end. Pinching this pouch may either push more venom into the skin or burst the pouch, increasing the skin reaction.
  • Wash the area with soap and water and apply a cold compress (on the skin for 10 minutes, then off for 10 minutes for 30-60 minutes).
  •  You can reduce itching and discomfort by trying some of the following:
    • Wet baking soda with water and apply paste to the wound for 15-20 minutes.
    • Use a non-prescription (over-the-counter) product made for stings.
    • Use Tylenol (acetaminophen) for pain.
    • Use Benadryl (diphenhydramine) orally or topically to help reduce allergic symptoms/itching/inflammation.
    •  If any of the following occur, these can be a sign that the stung individual has a potentially life threatening allergy to bee stings and must seek emergency medical treatment:
      • Coughing, a ‘tickle’ in the throat, swelling, tightness in throat or chest, dizziness, sweating, nausea/vomiting, a rash that is no longer just at the sight of the stinger, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/emergency_services/non_traumatic_emergencies/spider_bites/Pages/index.aspx

http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/emergency_services/non_traumatic_emergencies/bee_stings/Pages/index.aspx

http://www.uptodate.com/contents/what-to-do-after-a-tick-bite-to-prevent-lyme-disease-beyond-the-basics