Now that it’s summer and peak season for ticks, it’s important to protect yourself and your family from tick bites, which unfortunately are as much a part of summer as picnics, hiking and swimming these days.
But no matter how prepared you are, you can never be 100 percent certain you’re safe. That said, we have some tips to minimize the chances you or a loved one gets bitten and we also have the best way to remove a tick if you are.
Read them below and feel free to share this article with your friends so they are also prepared. Believe me, nobody wants to search “tick bites” on Google after they’ve already gotten a tick lodged under their skin!
How to protect yourself from ticks
As we’ve said before, it’s important to take safety precautions before heading outside during the summer.
To best protect yourself, wear long sleeved shirts and long pants and consider wearing dark clothing, which attracts fewer ticks. Avoid walking through tall grass, especially when it’s damp, and always check yourself and your children for ticks after you’ve been outside.
But if you do find a tick, what should you do?
How to remove ticks
1. First, make sure it really is a tick. Generally, ticks are attracted to warm areas — like in the hair, under the arms, behind the ears or in the crotch. According to Kid’s Health, children often have ticks on the upper part of their body.
2. Is it a tick? Relax — now it’s time to try and get rid of it as soon as possible. The risk of infection increases the longer the tick remains. Lyme disease, for example, isn’t usually transmitted during the first few hours after a tick bite. Thus, the sooner you remove the tick, the less risk of infection!
3. Get a pair of tweezers or a tick removal tool (often found at pharmacies). Because ticks bite into the skin with their tiny pincers, it’s important to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. Then slowly pull straight up with a steady hand.
4. When you’re done, wash the wound with soap and water or disinfectant. Then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
5. Now it’s time to finish the tick off so it can’t hurt anyone else. You can either flush it down the toilet or burn it. Or you can save the tick in a ziplock bag, so if you get sick, you can have doctors examine it to see if it’s carrying a dangerous disease.
6. Look out for symptoms. Some common ones for tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and Lyme disease are fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pain and fevers. Another symptom of Lyme disease is a rash that appears after three to 14 days.
How NOT to remove a tick
There are also some things that you shouldn’t do when removing a tick:
1. Don’t squeeze the tick’s body while removing it. You might cause liquid to ooze out and infect the wound.
2. The idea that it’s better to twist tweezers while removing a tick is a myth, according to the Center For Disease Control in the United States. Just pull the tick straight up; otherwise you might rip the tick apart and leave part of it in the wound.
3. Don’t cover the tick in petroleum jelly or try to drown it before removing it, writes the CDC.
4. Never burn a tick, coat it with nail polish or try to drown it in alcohol. As mentioned above, a pair of tweezers is all you need.
Now that it’s tick season, it’s extra important to know how to remove ticks correctly in case you get bitten.
Let’s share this information widely on Facebook so everyone follow this advice this summer. Your friends will thank you later!