When you spend a lot of time out in the outdoors, ticks can be a common occurrence. Ticks have a bad reputation but don’t worry, you can prevent and even remove a tick. Read up on tips to prevent a tick-borne disease.
How to identify ticks
Ticks are arachnids with a teardrop shaped body and eight legs. They can be three sizes, adult ticks are large, medium ticks and small ticks that can resemble a sesame seed. Though there are more than eighty kinds of ticks in North America, the most prevalent and fastest breeding ones are deer ticks and unfortunately, these ticks carry Lyme disease. These ticks are a red-brown color and have a hard protective shield behind their head.
Preventing tick bites
Ticks latch onto your skin by clinging onto your clothing, socks or hair and crawling up your body. Therefore, the best way of preventing tick bites is to wear long pants, and wearing an insect repellant that has at least 20% DEET. If you are looking for a more natural alternative, the EPA lists citronella as an effective deterrent for mosquitoes and ticks, as long as you reapply every hour.
If you know you are going to be in an area where there is a high population of ticks, treat your clothing with permethrin, but remember that it’s not approved to be applied directly to your skin.
It’s easy to miss a tick, as they often stick to hard to see places in your body, and their bites are nearly always painless. Therefore, it’s recommended that after being in the outdoors, you carefully check your body in the shower.
How to remove a tick
The easiest and best way of removing ticks from your body is to pull them out with tweezers. A good pair of pointy tweezers can remove even the smallest ticks from your body. Grip the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull straight out, as if you were pulling a splinter. Never try to unscrew or pry the tick, as this won’t work. Once the tick is removed, wash the area with soap and water.
Do you need to see a doctor?
Tick bites don’t always require a doctor’s visit. You need to go see a doctor if you have a red ring growing around the bite, if you can’t remove the tick or if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as aches, fatigue, headaches, and fever. Most symptoms will appear a few days after the tick has been removed, so remain vigilant.