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Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-20-2006, 10:19 PM   #1
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Lions, tigers, and bears

The past few days we have been camping in northern Wisconsin. Despite liberal use of Deet, we all got bit by mosquitoes and deer ticks. Too buggy out there! My cousin got Lyme disease a couple of years ago and got very ill. I am starting to get bug paranoia. Anyone know what the risks are of getting Lyme disease from the deer ticks or West Nile from the mosquitoes? I am bug fodder.

There are bears out here too, but they don't scare me. My aunt once drove a bear away from our campsite back when I was a child by hitting it with an iron pan.
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-20-2006, 10:32 PM   #2
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

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Originally Posted by Martha
... Despite liberal use of Deet, we all got bit
... Too buggy out there!
... I am starting to get bug paranoia.
... I am bug fodder.
This from a woman who sleeps with a Gold Bug. :

(Sorry. Most sincere apologies. Couldn't help myself. )

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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-20-2006, 10:50 PM   #3
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

I don't know what the stats are for Lyme Disease, but my brother had it. He was diagnosed with it shortly after being diagnosed with Lung Cancer, so we did not worry about the Lyme Disease. My brother loved hunting and fishing and being out of doors.

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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-20-2006, 11:14 PM   #4
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

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Originally Posted by Martha
Anyone know what the risks are of getting Lyme disease from the deer ticks or West Nile from the mosquitoes?* I am bug fodder.
"Oh, my." Pretty darn high from the former, not so much from the latter.

My FIL was bitten by a Maryland tick as he mowed his lawn for the last time before moving from Annapolis to Hawaii.* When the telltale circle showed up in Hawaii we "knew" that it had to be some exotic island allergy.

He hadn't even chosen a doctor yet so he picked out out of the phone book.* The elderly doctor had a family emergency that day so a last-minute substitute was filling in-- a brand-new GP who'd just started his career.* He promptly eliminated all the typical tropical diseases, looked up the symptoms on his medical software, and said "Hunh, I bet you have Lyme disease!"* They took a sample, started some medication, and told him to come back in a couple weeks.* At the followup the elder doctor pooh-poohed the new guy's Lyme disease diagnosis and said that, since the circle had gone away, it must have just been an allergic reaction to "something".

Of course the sample tested positive for Lyme disease.*

West Nile can be transmitted too but apparently mosquitos have a harder time than ticks.* I don't know if that's specific to Hawaii or on the Mainland as well.* Either way you're probably looking at symptoms on websites and a quick trip to the doctor, right?
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-20-2006, 11:18 PM   #5
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

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Despite liberal use of Deet, we all got bit by mosquitoes and deer ticks.
Martha, there have to be better places to go camping!

As I understand it, Lyme disease is easily treatable with an antibiotic, but getting a diagnosis has been a real problem. Apparantly the docs--even in the areas where Lyme disease is common--can't recognize it or don't know about it. Maybe they don't read their journals anymore.
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-20-2006, 11:56 PM   #6
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

A close friend of mine got it in Mendocino County. In spite of having the typical target lesion and swollen nodes, her Doc couldn't figure it out. She got sicker and sicker, finally a consult was tried and the diagnosis made. By this time she had Bell's Palsy, incredible weakness, etc, etc. For a long time she couldn't get very far from home, because she had to have IV antibiotics frequently. She also had terrible headaches and muscle and joint pain. I donít remember how long it took, but finally she was completely back to normal. She may have had her antibiotics changed at least once.

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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 08:08 AM   #7
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

Ha, my cousin apparently got bit by a deer tick up here. She developed target shaped rashed in numerous places, but they didn't show up until she was in Singapore on a trip. She managed to convince doctors there it was Lyme disease. She ended up ill all summer long but is fine now.

None of this bothers the DH, who only wanted to spend the evening inspecting each other for ticks. :P
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 08:43 AM   #8
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

Martha, look out for the tell tale signs and maybe call your dr Monday. Another thing to look out for is ticks on the dogs, they can get Lyme Disease too, my poor pup has had it twice, once because I didn't know they could get it or that there was a vaccine for it. The second time was because the vet didn't tell me the vaccine had to be given yearly. So tell dh if he wants to inspect bodies for ticks to check out the pups.
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 09:07 AM   #9
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
The past few days we have been camping in northern Wisconsin. Despite liberal use of Deet, we all got bit by mosquitoes and deer ticks. Too buggy out there! My cousin got Lyme disease a couple of years ago and got very ill. I am starting to get bug paranoia. Anyone know what the risks are of getting Lyme disease from the deer ticks or West Nile from the mosquitoes? I am bug fodder.
Highest concentration of ticks occurs along the borders of deer paths and/or hiking paths. Wisconsin is a hotbed, no doubt.

The ticks need to be embedded in skin for about 24-48 hours before there is a significant risk of Lyme transmission. It takes them 24 hours to even hunker down to feed. They usually latch on low down, and work their way north on your body before they embed. The best prevention is a "tick check" daily, including the nether regions. For the first 24 hours they can be removed by thorough use of a washcloth and shower. If you do that, the risk of acquiring Lyme Disease is quite low. Even after a confirmed bite of more than 24 hour duration, the risk of Lyme Disease is only about 3-4%

Antibiotics used preventively following a tick-bite probably work but the risk of side effects from the antibiotic usually exceed the benefits, given the low risk of transmission even in endemic areas. I recommend to my patients after promptly detected exposure that they simply keep a very sharp eye out for unexplained rashes (even subtle ones), fever, joint pain, or other symptoms. If that occurs they call me. Blood testing for Lyme disease is highly imperfect, so often it's a clinical judgment.

Bottom line: don't worry about it. Check your body EVERYWHERE daily while camping, etc. and shower with a brisk washcloth daily. Remove them with a tweezers if they are stuck or just wipe them off with a washcloth. If you notice anything funny over the next few weeks, give your doctor a call.

As for black bears, wipe them off daily with a bath towel.
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 09:29 AM   #10
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
If you notice anything funny over the next few weeks, give your doctor a call.
Doc, if Rothbard insists on checking Gweneth's "nether regions" for ticks nightly, long after returning from their camping trip, does that qualify as something "funny"?

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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 09:31 AM   #11
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

Martha,
I too fear Lyme disease - the ticks are small and they like to hide in difficult places to spot.

Backpacker magazine recently had an article about it. It even mentioned a vacine being developed.

The bullseye rash does not ocur in all cases. It is most important to be aware of any illness after being in the wood. I would insist on a test if I had any concerns at all.

They do give me an excuse for shaving my legs.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tick and Mosquito Alert
Ticks are relatively rare above 3500 feet, but caution is still prudent. When you get home, plan to drop your clothing directly in the laundry and do a tick check before you shower. Deer ticks, the type that carry lyme disease, are about the size of a pinhead and tend to attach in hair, under ears, underarms, trunk of the body, groin, and backs of the knees. Remove them by gently pulling with tweezers and wipe the skin near the bite with a mild disinfectant. If, within 7-10 days after exposure, you experience a rash (especially an expanding "bull's eye" rash), chills, fever, headache, stiff neck, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and/or aching joints and muscles, contact your doctor. You can find more information on lyme disease at www.lyme.org or www.aldf.com, or by calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (404) 332-4555.

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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 10:33 AM   #12
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

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Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Doc, if Rothbard insists on checking Gweneth's "nether regions" for ticks nightly, long after returning from their camping trip, does that qualify as something "funny"?


That's TICK with a "t."
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 10:53 AM   #13
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
A close friend of mine got it in Mendocino County. In spite of having the typical target lesion and swollen nodes, her Doc couldn't figure it out.
It's true - the diagnosis is often missed or delayed with certain infectious type diseases. Especially true when they are somewhat regional or uncommon.

When I practiced in Tucson, the mystery disease was Valley Fever (coccidioidomycosis) - everyone knew about it there, but not in most other areas. In Wisconsin and a few other areas, Lyme disease is the disease-du-jour. Given how many different diseases there are, it really pays to take a good travel history and hit the books if you are unsure.

For most of civilization through the earlier half of the 20th century, syphilis was the one. It could manifest as a rash, "lunacy," neuropathy, and almost any other symptoms. Making something of a comeback, alas.
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 10:58 AM   #14
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
For most of civilization through the earlier half of the 20th century, syphilis was the one. It could manifest as a rash, "lunacy," neuropathy, and almost any other symptoms. Making something of a comeback, alas.
Please tell me excessive posting to an early retirement board is not one of the possible symptoms!

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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 11:40 AM   #15
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

Martha,

Lyme disease is big here in northeast NY, but fortunately the experts are pretty helpful and informative and often on public television.

The most helpful thing I learned is the tick has to be attached to you from anywhere from 24-48 hours to transmit the disease if it has it. Self-examination (or spouse's ) is key. I hear that the head/hair is often missed by people.

I know that when the State people go into high tick areas, they wear white from head to toe. Easier to spot ticks.

And if you're sick, be mindful the ticks are now known to transmit other lesser known infectious diseases, and if you don't get well it's likely something similar, and needs a difference medicine. (That's not rare here.) Best to see an experienced internist.

Now back to bears..... I'm headed to my parents' place in Vermont, right smack next to the Green Mountain Forest. Bears are common. What's this about a frying pan?

What do ya do when you see a bear? Run? Hide? Climb? Yell? Play dead?

My folks mostly stay in, and I mostly stay out, and it's only a matter of when I'll see one. Not looking forward to it. I know it will be between me and where I need to go.......

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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 11:43 AM   #16
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

Based on what Rich says, I'm not going to worry about it.

Inspected and scrubbed. We should be fine.

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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 11:46 AM   #17
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

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Originally Posted by kate

Now back to bears..... I'm headed to my parents' place in Vermont, right smack next to the Green Mountain Forest. Bears are common. What's this about a frying pan?

What do ya do when you see a bear? Run? Hide? Climb? Yell? Play dead?

My folks mostly stay in, and I mostly stay out, and it's only a matter of when I'll see one. Not looking forward to it. I know it will be between me and where I need to go.......

kate
Depends on the kind of bear. But making a lot of noise so they avoid you is good.

There have been a number of black bear attacks in our area in the last few years. With black bears the experts say fight back.
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 12:06 PM   #18
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

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Depends on the kind of bear. But making a lot of noise so they avoid you is good.
I was afraid you'd say that. I'll probably squeak.
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-21-2006, 12:07 PM   #19
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That's really cool, Rich, everything you said matched what they said on public tv! I like it when that happens. 8)
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears
Old 05-22-2006, 04:42 PM   #20
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Re: Lions, tigers, and bears

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Originally Posted by kate
What do ya do when you see a bear? Run? Hide? Climb? Yell? Play dead?
I've run into black bears several times while camping in CA. We usually just made lots of noise and they scampered away. The ones that are used to people tend to take more noise to scare away. Running is not a good idea from what I've heard and neither is any action that makes you appear smaller/weaker. The biggest thing you can do is to avoid contact seems to be to not have food or anything that smells (toothpaste, deodorant etc) in your tent or vehicle, store it in bear box or bear canister. Bears are excellent climbers so I don't think you can climb high enough to get away from one.

If you are really worried you can get a pepper spray meant for bears. This is what the park rangers carried in Alaska. Of course that was for grizzlies and you have know how to use it properly since you might do more harm than good.
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