How To Deal With And Prevent Tick Bites
When it comes to tick bites, it's crucial to remove them as soon as you spot them. Here's exactly what you should do when you're bitten.
Ticks can be red, brown, or black, and approximately 0.5-3.0mm in length. It can grow as large as 11mm once it is fully engorged.
They peak during spring and summer seasons. Are you prepared? Continue scrolling to find out how to deal with tick bites..
In this article:
- What Do You Do When a Tick Bites?
- What Symptoms Should I Watch Out For?
- Are Tick Bites Dangerous?
- Which Parts of the Body Should I Check for Tick Bites?
- Where Can You Normally Find Ticks?
- How Can I Prevent Tick Bites?
- The Bottom Line
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Tick Bites | What You Need to Know Before Your Next Outdoor Adventure
What Do You Do When a Tick Bites?
It's key to remove a tick as soon as you spot it. Whether it's crawling along your skin or attached to you, do not crush it or slap it off. Instead, perform the steps below.
- With a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, grab hold of the tick, careful not to crush it. Position the tip of your tweezers as close to your skin as possible.
- Pull upward in a steady motion. Avoid bending or twisting the tweezers as you pull it out. This is to prevent the head or mouth from being separated while you remove it.
- Make sure all the parts of the tick are removed from your skin. Watch out for parts of the mouth or the head that may have been left attached.
- Clean the bite site thoroughly with water and soap or with rubbing alcohol.
- Flush the tick down the toilet to discard it. Otherwise, submerge the tick in rubbing alcohol to make sure it's dead. Seal it in a secure container.
- Do not crush the tick with bare skin.
Some like to keep the tick to be able to identify their type with the help of a healthcare provider. If you want to do so, submerge the tick in rubbing alcohol then transfer it to a sealed bag/container.
There are also others that want to send the tick to labs to identify what germs they carry. However, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises against this. Whatever results you get, whether negative or positive, can lead to misleading conclusions.
Even if you are worried about your tick bite, refrain from self-medicating. Head straight to your doctor especially if Lyme disease is common in your area.
What Symptoms Should I Watch Out For?
Watch out for the symptoms below. If any of these manifest within 30 days of your tick bite, visit your doctor.
- muscle pain
- join pain and swelling
If you are allergic to tick bites, these are the symptoms you should watch out for:
- burning sensation
- depending on the severity of your allergy, difficulty breathing
You may, as a safety precaution, visit your healthcare provider after a tick bite even if you do not carry any of the symptoms.
Your doctor may treat you with antibiotics to prevent an infection.
Are Tick Bites Dangerous?
Tick bites are not always dangerous. However, some ticks may carry disease, germs, or cause allergic reactions.
A tick may be more dangerous the longer it's attached to your skin. This depends on the kind of tick and what germs it carries. It may take anywhere between minutes to days for the germs to infect you.
If you find a tick crawling on you, do a thorough scan for ticks on and around you. It may not have bitten you, but it may indicate that there are other ticks around you.
The chances of developing Lyme disease may be lower if the tick has been attached to you for less than 36 hours.
Do a regular tick check if you live in an area known to have many ticks.
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Which Parts of the Body Should I Check for Tick Bites?
Areas where tick bites are quite difficult to spot. They usually gravitate towards moist and warm areas on your body. Once they've found an ideal environment, they bite and suck blood.
A tick can stay attached to your skin for up to 10 days when it becomes full. After which point it will remove itself from you and simply fall off.
If you think you've been bitten, immediately check the areas below:
- in and around your ears
- scalp and hair
- inside your belly button
- between your legs
- behind your knees
The sooner you spot and remove the tick, the better.
Where Can You Normally Find Ticks?
You can find ticks on the grass, shrubs, trees, and even on your pet. Be wary of wooded areas and land with high grass.
Regularly check for ticks and tick bites if you spend plenty of time outdoors.
Ticks are most active during the spring and summer seasons, from April to September. Take extra precautions if you will be participating in outdoor activities such as hiking and trekking.
How Can I Prevent Tick Bites?
Prevention is better than cure.
Below are the steps you can take to avoid getting tick bites.
- Conduct regular tick checks if you go outdoors frequently or if you live in an area where ticks are common. Be sure to go over certain sections like your underarms, scalp, hair, waist, belly button, behind your knees, and between your legs.
- Apply tick repellent before a walk or a hike.
- Spray on insect treatment on your equipment and clothing.
- Wear clothes that fully cover your skin (e.g. long-sleeved shirts, long plants, enclosed shoes or boots).
- Wearing light-colored clothing may make it easier to spot them.
- Tuck the hem of your pants into your socks.
- If you have long hair, consider keeping it tied.
- Stick to the middle of the trail, avoiding shrubs and high grass.
- Shower as soon as you arrive home from being outdoors.
If you live in a house with a yard in a region with many ticks, you can do these steps to prevent them from entering your home.
- Mow your lawn frequently as you can find ticks in high grass areas.
- Dispose of leaf litter.
- Keep discarded furniture and trash away from your lawn.
- Build a fence on the perimeter of your home to keep animals from entering.
- Apply pesticide on your lawn.
The Bottom Line
With spring and summer, peak seasons for ticks, fast approaching, make sure to take all necessary precautions.
Wear outdoor-appropriate clothes, covering large portions of your skin so that ticks won't be able to attach to you. Treat your clothes and outdoor equipment with insect treatment and apply insect repellent to you skin without fail.
Just as there are ways to keep ticks off you, there are also ways to keep your home tick-free. Keep it clean and dispose of your trash properly and regularly so that ticks won't be able to make a home. Mow your lawn regularly and prevent tall grass from growing. Build a fence to keep tick-carrying animals and rodents away from your home.
If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove it immediately, careful not to crush it with your fingers. Visit your doctor who may prescribe you antibiotics as a measure for infections. Even if you do not show any symptoms associated with a tick bite infection or allergy, you may visit a doctor for your peace of mind.
If you exhibit symptoms related to a tick bite, book an appointment with your healthcare provider. While it's up to you to prevent such incidences or remove the tick, it can only be up to your doctor to treat it.
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