Safely removing a tick
What should I do if I get bitten?
Even if you are bitten by a deer tick, there is no need to panic. Not all ticks are infected, and those that are will not transmit Lyme disease until after 49hours of attachment. If you are unfortunate enough to be bitten, you should remove the tick promptly. Next, you should watch carefully for the appearance of a rash or other symptoms over the next month.
How do I remove a tick?
Tick removal, when done properly, is very simple.
- Do not use your fingers.
- Using a pair of pointed tweezers, grasp the tick by the head or mouthparts right where they enter the skin. DO NOT GRASP THE TICK BY THE BODY.
- Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. D0 NOT TWIST OUT.
- You should not ever apply petroleum jelly, a hot match, alcohol or any other irritant to get the tick to release,
- Place the tick in a jar of alcohol to kill it.
- Clean the site with a good disinfectant.
Just a note here about the tick and its bite; the head of the deer tick is recessed into the tick’s body, so it is not likely to be left behind if you remove it properly. Only the tick’s mouthparts protrude into your skin as it feeds. If the mouthparts break off and remain in the skin after your remove the rest of the tick, don’t worry. They cannot pass on the bacteria. Any little pieces left in the skin will eventually work their way out.
What should I DO Next?
You should begin to monitor the site of the bite. It is a good idea to watch for any appearance of a rash from 3 to 45 days after the bite. At the same time, come back here and review the symptoms of early stage you should be looking for.
What can I do to protect myself when I am in the woods, out at Presque Isle or other spots like Asbury Woods?
The easiest and best solutions involve protecting yourself. Here is a quick list of the little things you can do to protect yourself.
- Wear enclosed shoes.
- Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave.
- While outside scan clothing and exposed skin for ticks.
- Stay on cleared and well-traveled trails.
- Use insect repellant with Deet on skin and clothing.
- Avoid sitting directly on ground or stone walls.
- Keep long hair tied back.
- Do a final, full body tick-check at end of the day.
When taking the above precautions, consider these important facts;
- If you tuck long pants into socks and shirts into pants, be aware that ticks that contact your clothes will climb upward in search of exposed skin. This means they may try to climb to areas of the head and neck; spot check clothes frequently.
- Upon returning home, clothes can be spun in the dryer for 20-30 minutes to eliminate any unseen ticks.
- Clothes can be sprayed with either DEET. Just be careful to follow manufacturer’s directions.
- A shower and shampoo may help remove crawling ticks, but WILL NOT remove attached ticks. If you have been in areas where ticks might be found, inspect yourself and your children carefully after the shower,
- Remember that nymphal ticks can be the size of a poppy seed; adult ticks are the size of an apple seed.
With a mild winter and a warm spring, any contact with vegetation, even working or in the yard, can result in exposure to ticks. It is important to be to do the daily self-inspection whenever you engage in outdoor activities and the temperatures exceed 40◦ F (the temperature above which ticks are active). If you perform this ritual consistently, it is the most effective method for prevention of Lyme disease.
Enjoy the great spring weather and keep your eyes open out for those ticks. See you on the park!!
Categorised in: Questions / Answers
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