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Tick Bite - So Confused!
Hi!

On May 19th of this year, I discovered a bump on my head. My father-in-law discovered a tick and removed it with vegetable oil and a hot knife - old fasioned remedy. The tick came out whole, was not engorged, appeared to be a deer tick, and as far as I can tell, it was attached for less than 24 hours.
I followed up with a Dr. the next day who said it looked like I had a bullseye ring at the site of the bite and put me on doxycycline for 21 days.
One week from the removal of the tick, I discovered a lump in my neck below the tick bite which is on the back left side of my scalp. The next day, I got a fever and the lump and surrounding area was sore. I saw another Dr. about the sudden fever and feeling of being unwell and he said it may be a virus or it may be a reaction to the doxycycline. He recommended that I follow up with another Dr. in my hometown as I was away at the time to discuss the antibiotic and if I were having side effects. I saw another Dr. the next day who said that he had had 2 tick bites this year and would never consider taking the medication and told me that I could stop and that the risk for Lyme Disease in my area (East Kootenay region in British Columbia, Canada) is 1%. This was today that I saw this Dr. and my last antibiotic was last night. I have not yet disposed of them yet as I am still concerned as to whether or not I have the symptoms of Lyme or not and if I should stay on the antiobiotic just in case and suffer what might be the side effects...or go off of it and wonder if the fever and the sore neck/lymph nodes are Lyme Disease. My question is this: can I be having early symptoms of Lyme Disease already?? The Dr. that I saw yesterday when I had the fever said that the tick bite site is healing nicely and looks great and that the lymph nodes that are swollen are just reacting to that - this was repeated by Dr. #2 today as well. I would imagine that if the very first dr. who saw the bullseye last week really saw one and maybe not just a typical bug bite then maybe I would still have the bullseye rash and Dr. #2 would have seen it??? Plese help...I'm not sure if I should continue the antiobiotics just in case I am showing Lyme symptoms or if I am reacting to side effects of the antiobiotic. Very Confused. I can't get in to see my family Dr. unitl June 8th as she is SO booked up.
Any input welcome!!!!
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7 Answers
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Avatar universal
Those are symptoms of early lyme disease.  The fact that you have a fever is concerning.  Could you possibly leave a message with your doctor to call you back?  It's also possible you could have been bitten before and not known it.
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428506 tn?1296560999
Hi and welcome, sorry you are in this situation.  I'm having a little bit of trouble following your story (my fault, not yours, it's tough for me to read large blocks of text!).  

It sounds like at least one doctor saw a bull's eye rash and Rx-ed a course of doxy, but other subsequent doctors didn't see the rash, and doubt that treatment is necessary.

If I were you, I would finish the course of antibiotics.  The rash can come and go, and not everyone gets it anyway.  Your symptoms sound Lyme-like, and you only get one chance to treat early.  

It is not unusual for doctors to express conflicting opinions on Lyme.  Geography is often a reason given for why Lyme is unlikely.  However, the disease keeps spreading and challenging the boundaries.

I'm not a medical professional, so this is just my opinion. If I had the option to treat early, I'd take it!  I don't know when I was bitten, so I never had that chance.

I hope either way that your symptoms resolve and that you feel better.
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Thank you both for your responses. I have consulted a pharmacist and he also recommended staying on the meds. This morning, I woke up with more swollen lymph nodes in my neck, on the same side as the tick site...and the tick site, although it looks healthy (according to my husband!) it has changed and feels like it has a lump underneath it....almost as if I bumped my head and got a goose-egg. I haven't had a fever in a day, just a minor headache and general malaise. The pharmacist said that obvously my body is fighting some kind of infection and hopefully the continuation of the doxy will help it...or not if it's a virus or something. I agree with getting a chance to treat the lyme early if it is, as I have definately read how awful this can be in the long term. I'll keep you posted and thanks for the well wishes...right back at ya!
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280418 tn?1306329510
Err on the side of caution in my opinion and continue the meds.  You can avoid chronic illness by treating it correctly now if it is Lyme.  Don't allow anyone to convince you not to take a mild course of antibiotics based on their opinion that the chance of Lyme in your area is 1% - well what if you were that 1%.  Check with localal veterinarians or their websites - often they will tell you if they have any cases of Lyme disease in dogs.  I was told it was rare to almost impossible to get Lyme in NC and I just asked my vet.  She said she had a few dogs with it and whoever said it was rare here, was a liar.  

Not an MD, but this is what I would do, now that I am stuck with the chronic issues and hindsight is twenty-twenty.
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Thank you again for the comments. My symptoms changed and the site of the tick bite is kind of like a soft "goose egg" on my head. My Dr. (FINALLY saw my family Dr.!) tried to drain it, but nothing came out. My neck is still full of swollen and painful lymph nodes and I still feel mild, flu-like symptoms. My antibiotic was changed and I'm definately taking that now, especially on the advice of my family Dr. and in light of the new symptoms. The new antiobiotic is Apo-Cefuroxime and is one of the 3 used to combat Lyme Disease. My Dr. also said it combats skin infections which I suppose is what I also have now. I asked her why I would still get any infection when I was on the doxy, and she admitted that it was a mystery. I had blood drawn to be tested so we'll just have to wait and see. In the mean time, I really hope I just start feeling like normal and that it will all just go away. NASTY woodtick!
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666921 tn?1254994218
glad to hear you are getting treated - it is a good idea to keep a 'record' of your symptoms - changes/medication/dates etc;

I hope you are feeling better soon - keep 'us' posted

best wishes

gorbs x
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What ended up happening with this? I ask because my 5 year old daughter has had almost the exact same thing happen to her. Tick bite in the same area, I extracted the entire tick, same type of tick (according to my spouse and a doctor we saw), she had a very random fever shortly after, then a surprisingly swollen lymph node appeared on the base of her hairline/neck about 2 inches from the tick bite site. Took her to urgent care and they offered to try to drain it, but was harmless...so I wasn't about to opt for her to fell extra pain. So they said keep an eye and bring her in if it gets red or inflamed. It's stayed the same, but another swollen lymph node has appeared very close to the first one. Nurse called two days after the visit and I told her about it, but she said to bring her in if it gets red. It isn't red, just very swollen, hot around the area and extremely painful to her. I can't even brush her hair near it. I have an appointment with her pediatrician in less than 2 weeks to take a look at it. I'm hoping it'll magically go away on its own. You post has such a similar description, I would like to know what ended up happening. Thank you!
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