I almost want to say, ‘finally’, not out of excitement but from disbelieve. I can’t believe that it took 32 years of bundu bashing, hiking trails, camping, travelling, being out in nature and having pets before I ‘finally’ managed to meet get tick bite fever.
Or rather, it took 32 years for the ticks to finally latch on long enough for me to confirm that everything everyone has ever said about tick bite fever is true.
Literally and figuratively.
Luckily (trying to see the bright side of this) I noticed the ticks right from the start.
Firstly, at, let’s call it Tick Mecca, I spotted a tiny bliksem on my shoe. But then, without even noticing, I was such a good host that I managed to bring some home as well. One on each foot and one on my stomach; I removed the buggers from head to toe but stayed alert the whole time.
A few days went by and then bam, all of the sudden a headache from hell appeared one night with its baby brother called, ‘stiff neck’. The next morning (that’s yesterday 08/02/18), I woke with a bumpy thing on my stomach, about half a mile away from where I saw the tick that I removed.
First I thought, ‘nah, not it’ and continued my day, with my hellish friend, headache, and his brother, stiff neck, that grew a little bit bigger and hitched a free ride on my neck and shoulders.
By 09:00 I was ready for bed again; sluggish, lethargic and just blah. I managed to write about 18 sentences in 4 hours before I turned to Google and when I read ‘eschar’ and then looked at my bumpy thing, I made an appointment with the doctor.
Side note, never Google ‘eschar’ in images. I repeat, DO NOT DO IT. For something less gross, rather go with ‘eschar tick bite’ to Google images. It is still pretty disgusting, but a million and twelve times better.
It took me five minutes and R350 to describe my symptoms (basically telling the doctor that I have tick bite fever), get a check-up and a ‘damn, you have a high fever’, only for the doctor to confirm my self-diagnoses. Yep you have tick bite fever, here drink these antibiotics, they are only R9.
Sucks that there is no discount for self-diagnosis.
Everything anyone and everyone has ever said about tick bite fever is true.
Here is a list of things that are way too much trouble at the moment:
Working (good thing I work for myself and there is no one to fill in, right?)
And writing this post.
Blah blah, blah blaaaaahhh.
I’m also using all the positivity I have left to talk myself into being less blah by next week Wednesday because I have to leave for a short trip. I caught this thing within a week so I will be fine within a week? Yes, yes, yes. Putting my positive thinking cap on. Don’t ruin it for me with negativity.
Signs of Tick Bite Fever
Here are a few things to look out for when you find yourself in a TrICKy situation (see what I did there? Still got jokes. Positivity!).
- A tick is usually a sign that you might get tick bite fever but not all ticks have the stupid organisms that can lead to tick bite fever.
- Remove the tick, head and shoulders (not the shampoo). Remove the tick – the whole tick – and tell the tick that he sucks and that the bite was unnecessary. Remove with tweezers in a straight line as close to the skin as possible. Do not squeeze or crush the thing while doing it. Burn it, flush it, but don’t just throw it out in the bin (he might come back for seconds).
- Now you wait. The little bastard can take anything from 4 to 14 days before he punishes you for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Territorial drol.
- Watch out for the signs: sluggishness, muscle pains, headache, blahness, fever, a rash, painful/enlarged lymph nodes and an eschar (red skin sore with a dark centre that looks like a pimple from hell in the beginning).
Advice for Dealing with Tick Bite Fever
- Go to the doctor as soon as possible, the earlier you catch it the better.
- Take some time off. If you work for yourself, get an employer and then take some time off.
- Complete your course of antibiotics (I got Cyclidox) and make use of something like Mybulen for the fever (that will make you feel blah too).
How NOT to get Tick Bite Fever.
- Become best friends with a bottle of insect-repellent.
- Stay in the middle of footpaths when hiking.
- Check your pets for ticks; if your cat or dog is friendly enough to host a tick, the tick might get bored and visit you. Treat your pets regularly with Revolution or Frontline (if anyone knows if I can put this on my neck too, please let know? Okay thanks).
- Wear light-coloured clothes and look like a German tourist with pants tucked into your socks.
- Don’t roll around in the grass.
- Announce yourself when you enter an area where ticks might gather. Say that you come in peace (not always effective).
- Get yourself an eco-friendly bubble to stay tick-free.
- Cover yourself with baby oil and sing a little song to the tick:
Slide to the left
Slide to the right
Take it back now y’all
One hop this time
Right foot lets stomp
Left foot lets stomp
Cha cha real smooth.
(Even though I would love to see a tick do the cha cha, this is not a real tip).
Disclaimer: If you are a tick reading this please take note that I meant every single word. You’re nasty.
And if you are a doctor reading this, let’s chat about that self-diagnoses discount one day, okay? Okay.
Also, due to my blahness I will not read through this post again to spot typos. Sorry and goodbye, may you forever be blessed with a tick-free body.
My “NOT HAPPY WITH THIS” face.