It’s a good idea to take preventative measures against ticks year-round, especially during the warmer months (April – September) when ticks are most active. Despite your best effort to avoid ticks altogether, exposure can still happen. If you should find a tick, bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off other ticks that may be on you. You should also conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. It is recommended that gear and pets are also examined as ticks can ride into the home on clothing and animals and then attach to a person later.
What to do if a tick bites you:
If you find a tick attached to your skin, there’s no need to panic. A plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively.
How to remove a tick:
- Use 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 call your doctor. Don’t try any other removal methods.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine solution, or soap and water.
Tick bite follow-up:
Early recognition and treatment of tick-borne infections decreases the risk of complications. So contact your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of the symptoms described below:
- Stiff neck
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain or swelling
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Flu-like symptoms
Call 911 or your local emergency number if you develop:
- A severe headache
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or heart palpitations
It’s important for all of us to take the dangers of ticks seriously. However, with a little common sense you can still enjoy the outdoors.