Tick season is here, and along with it there is more interest in Lyme Disease. How to identify ticks, what to do if a tick is found, how to avoid ticks, how to remove ticks if bitten by one – these are all good questions, and we have some answers.
If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic. Several tick removal devices are available on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick effectively.
How to remove a tick
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
- Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.
Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–do not wait for it to detach.
To identify ticks:
People who have removed a tick sometimes wonder if they should have it tested for evidence of infection. Although some commercial groups offer testing, in general this is not recommended because:
- Laboratories that conduct tick testing are not required to have the high standards of quality control used by clinical diagnostic laboratories. Results of tick testing should not be used for treatment decisions.
- Positive results showing that the tick contains a disease-causing organism do not necessarily mean that you have been infected.
- Negative results can lead to false assurance. You may have been unknowingly bitten by a different tick that was infected.
- If you have been infected, you will probably develop symptoms before results of the tick test are available. If you do become ill, you should not wait for tick testing results before beginning appropriate treatment.
However, you may want to learn to identify various ticks(https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/geographic_distribution.html). Different ticks live in different parts of the country and transmit different diseases(https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/index.html).
If you click on the above link to “identify various ticks” you can see pictures of different kinds of ticks and maps of where they are common.
Steps to take to the prevention of Lyme’s Disease:
- Wear light colored pants and tuck them in when outdoors.
- Use Repellents containing 0.5% permethrin or 20-30% DEET, follow directions carefully.
- When possible, avoid walking in tall grass and weeds.
- Conduct visual “tick Checks” on yourself and children every hour or two.
- Carefully remove attached ticks as soon as possible.
- Keep yard and play area well mowed to discourage Ticks.
You may contact 440-576-3023 for comments or further information regarding Lyme Disease.