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Prevent Tick Bites During Fertility Treatment
A patient’s question: "I am going to take a hike in the woods this morning. Is that OK?"
My fertility patient had just finished having her blood drawn, and I did an ultrasound to measure her follicles. She was in the middle of her stimulation for in vitro fertilization (IVF). She then asked the question above. I said, "Just stay hydrated and don’t get a tick bite."
The next morning she came in very upset, having just removed a tick from her back.
Ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and they also carry many other infectious agents. Across the country, areas that experienced mild winters are already experiencing an increase in tick-borne illnesses. Some experts are predicting that 2012 could be the worst summer yet for Lyme disease diagnosis.
Please follow these recommended precautions:
- Wear protective clothing including long, light colored pants tucked into your socks and long-sleeved shirts.
- Check for and remove ticks after all outdoor activities (on your pets too).
- Use tick repellent on skin and clothing.
- Avoid areas where ticks are abundant.
- Educate yourself about the early recognition of Lyme disease symptoms.
There is good experimental evidence that transmission of B. burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) rarely occurs within the first 24 hours following attachment of a tick. Antibiotic prophylaxis (one dose of antibiotics) may be recommended in certain situations. If you do get a tick bite, you may check with your physician to see if you are a candidate for antibiotic prophylaxis.
Any time a woman is pregnant, attempting to conceive or in the middle of a fertility treatment, the diagnosis and treatment regimen for many disorders, including Lyme disease is more complex. For example, the first choice of antibiotics for Lyme disease is not safe during a pregnancy!