As ticks are going rampant across the US this season, it is extremely important to know what to do if you get bitten, because time is clearly of the essence.
When ticks bite, they remain attached to the skin, with their head literally glued into a human’s skin. In most cases, people do not feel the tick bite and only identify the tick accidentally. Mose often, people find them when taking a shower, because otherwise they can stay hidden under clothes or hair.
The most important thing that you have to do in the event that you find a tick on yourself is not to panic, because getting bitten does not necessarily mean that you will get sick. However, it is crucial that you remain calm and seriously think whether or not you or some somebody else can remove the tick as soon as possible. If you find yourself unable to remove the tick, then it is best that you go to the hospital as soon as possible, so that a medical professional can remove it for you.
But if you can remove it yourself, it is best if you do so, and it is of the utmost importance that you know the proper way of removing it, so as to avoid complications. Firstly, you have to know that a tick is essentially like a blood filled balloon with a head, a neck and legs. Therefore, you must never squeeze it and you must not use needles to remove it, because the blood inside it will spill. The body of the tick is fairly resistant, but it is not difficult to break it open.
The right tool that you have to use to remove the tick is a pair of tweezers. And before you start doing that, it is advisable that you put some sanitary alcohol on the bite site. You can be generous enough with the sanitary alcohol and you can reapply it once every two minutes or so. After about 5-10 minutes after applying the alcohol for the first time, you have to use the tweezers to very gently grab the tick’s neck.
The proper way to identify the tick’s neck is to look and see where its balloon-like body ends; you will see a narrower part the continues onto the skin that is usually dark brown or black in color. The head of the tick is actually inside your skin and the tick secretes some special glue on the skin surface so as to keep it there. This is why it is an extremely bad idea to pull roughly on its neck, because the head would remain inside.
The right way is to grab it gently and pull for a little bit and then take a ten-second-long break and pull some more. When taking a break, keep your tweezers on the tick. As you pull, you should see its head coming out of the skin bit by bit, and you need to take your time and keep pulling gently, even as you’re reaching the top of the head.
Once it’s out, grab the tick with the tweezers and place it in a clean jar and close the lid tightly. Then, go and wash the bite site as soon as possible with clean water and soap. Then, it is best if you go to the hospital, so that a doctor can give you a full medical examination. The doctor will not be able to tell you right away if you are infected with a tick-borne disease, because these take some time before they show any detectable signs.
This is why the doctor will be keeping you under observation for a few days, so that he or she can make sure that you are healthy. It is a good idea to bring in the tick as well, so that the doctors can send it to the lab, and hopefully find out whether or not the tick was carrying other pathogens. If it takes more than one or two hours before you hand in the tick sample, it is best if you add some clean water in the jar that you have collected it in, because otherwise it will dry out.
In order to keep safe in the face of this minute predator, there are some golden rules that you need to follow. Firstly, remember that from mid-spring all the way until mid autumn, until it begins to get cold again, it is tick season and you need to be on the look out. The hotter it is, the bigger the tick danger is, therefore summer is the high risk period.
When you go to the part or in any kind of wooded or grassy area, it is best if you wear closed footwear and long trousers, because as you’re walking though the grass, the grass blades can reach your legs ankles and higher and ticks are usually found on the tip of the grass blades, waiting to hitch a ride.
Wearing insecticide spray on your exposed ares is an extremely good idea, but remember to ask the pharmacist if the spray is suitable for ticks in particular, because the active substance in the spray might be suitable for mosquitoes and other insects, but not for ticks. There are also tick repellent sprays that you can use, that make the ticks reluctant to approach you. These are usually plant based and they bear a strong smell, that is pleasant to us, but not to the tick, such as cinnamon.
So remember to keep safe from ticks this summer and to do the right thing in case you are unlucky enough to get bitten.
Image Source: amazonaws