Topic ID #24544 - posted 11/9/2012 2:19 AM

archaeologists and Lyme disease

Jennifer Palmer

Hi everyone. After 15 years in the field and countless tick removals, it seems that Lyme has finally caught up with me (no positive test results yet, but all the signs are there). I'm curious to hear about other archaeologists' experiences with Lyme. Did you catch it early? I've heard that folks seem to fare ok for the most part if they get the 21 day regimen of antibiotics early on.


Post ID#19874 - replied 11/9/2012 7:34 AM


Oh, dear. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

I've been lucky in that ticks don't seem to like me--I can count on one hand the number of times I have found a tick on me in the last couple of decades, but I don't live or work bact east where they are much more common.

Post ID#19875 - replied 11/11/2012 3:09 AM

Jennifer Palmer

Thanks.  I think the ticks are really bad this year. I've probably picked more off me in the last several months than in several years combined.

And in tick news... Ticks are turning victims into vegetarians

Post ID#19876 - replied 11/12/2012 10:29 AM


Hi Jennifer,

I am an archaeologist who was infected with Lyme doing fieldwork in SW France in 2009.  I have never recovered likely due to delay of treatment and making the poor decision to return to the southeast US where I was treated with a short course of ABX and dismissed because the cdc mandates short treatments that often don't work.  I tested positive relatively quickly and had most of the symptoms (no bulls eye rash or even a known tick bite but obviously living outdoors for weeks, its kind of a guarantee) but after the treatment I ignored warning signs like lingering fevers and terrible fatigue.  Its now been three years and I am no longer field able-and I'm 26!  I am on antibiotics often or just fueling my body as best I know how using supplements and dietary changes, its been a tough adjustment to go from being able to be in the field all day, run 5 miles, etc to now debating where benches are on my graduate school campus so I can sit down if I need to while walking a few hundred meters to class.     

To anyone out there thinking you could have lyme and a doctor dismisses you-go immediately to another Lyme Literate MD, it could save your life.  There are countless other illnesses ticks carry like ehrlichiosis, babesia, bartonella, etc, many of these don't have adequate tests set up and physicians are often unfamiliar with their clinical presentation.  I know in north Florida it took the entire state geological survey team getting rocky mountain spotted fever for doctors to acknowledge that it was in the area.  These illnesses are everywhere-not just north of the mason dixon line (and obviously abroad too! I can't count how many times people have said to me "they don't have lyme disease in France", I beg to differ).  Protect yourself and the minute you feel flu like symptoms and you've been on a project, carefully monitor and pursue medical care.  Don't wait!

Please PM me if you want more information (that goes for anyone out there!).  Good luck with treatment and feel better, Jennifer.

Post ID#19881 - replied 11/25/2012 1:49 AM


Wow, sorry to hear and best wishes on recovery. Keep us updated.

This year has been really bad for Ticks due to the mild winter last year. I worked a field school in western NC this July and probably pulled off around 5 ticks a day just in the field. 

Post ID#19882 - replied 11/25/2012 2:20 AM

Jennifer Palmer

haysingleton, thank you, I appreciate you sharing your story. Unfortunately it sounds like many folks I know who delayed treatment for one reason or another. Personnel at the medical clinic did not initially want to give me antibiotics and I had to argue for the treatment. It seems that early intervention is the only way of potentially nipping this in the bud, and I've heard too many sad stories from friends who weren't diagnosed early on.  I wish you the best for the future.

The first week was a little rough with various symptoms, including a sore throat and fatigue. I'm finishing out the round of antibiotics now, and the nausea persists. I suspect it may be due to the antibiotics themselves. I was told to return to the doctor in 6 weeks for a Lyme blood test.

3D_archaeology, thanks. I believe my highest tick count this year was about 60 in one day. I'm not a fan of chemicals but I've now gotten into the habit of wearing a few articles treated with Permethrin when I'm venturing out into brushy territory. Since I've started this I haven't had any issues with ticks (at least that I am aware of!).  I still don't like bringing chemical-treated clothing home (especially as I have young children and pets) so I leave everything at work and change clothes at the end of the day.



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