To the Editor:

When it comes to ticks, treat early


Thank you so very much for the accurate and thorough article on ticks (“Tick season is upon us,” News + Record, April 25 - May 4 edition). Thanks also from all of us to Dr. Marcia Herman-Giddens for her tenacious good works and excellent advice and the practical tick kits now available at the downtown Pittsboro office of the Environmental Health Division.

My only addition is to encourage patients and physicians to “treat early.” A dab of doxycycline early 100 times “unnecessarily” is well worth one case of untreated Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, or Ehrlichiosis.

In the 1950s, UNC football coach Jim Tatum came into the hospital with a tick bite history and aches and fever. The purists classified him as having a “Fever Of Unknown Origin.” With no definitive lab test and the absence of a high white blood cell count (typical of rickettsia tick borne illness), they refused to start antibiotics. When the palmar rash typical of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever finally appeared, he was too ill and despite treatment, he died. Just $2.50 worth of tetracycline on the first day and he would have been back coaching the next day.

Nag if you need to be treated early for a tick embedded and you or the doctor may have removed.

John R. Dykers Jr.. MD
Siler City


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