This year’s tick season has been tough! With populations increasing, it’s more important than ever to keep a close eye out for any ticks that have found their way onto you.
Ticks are tiny arachnids with eight legs and flat oval bodies that swell up after they eat. These little ticks feed on animal blood, including deers, birds, dogs, and humans. The leading cause for concern with ticks is that when they bite and feed on your blood, they can spread serious and even deadly diseases such as Lyme disease. Of course, this sounds unnerving, but if you spot a tick biting you, knowing exactly what to do is the best way to protect yourself.
If you find a tick on your skin, follow these steps:
Remove the tick.
If the tick hasn’t bitten you yet and is just crawling on your skin, carefully pick it up with a pair of tweezers. If the tick is latched on to you, take your tweezers and grip the tick’s body as close to the skin’s surface as you can, and pull the tick off with steady, even pressure to extract the entire tick.
Clean the area where the lick bit you.
Immediately after tick removal, clean the area thoroughly with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
Identify the tick.
Certain tick varieties are associated with certain infectious diseases, making it beneficial to try and identify which type of tick bit you. Search online or take a look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Tick ID chart to help identify and determine if you are more likely at risk of having contracted a disease.
Dispose of or contain the tick safely.
If you’re looking to dispose of the tick, the CDC recommends flushing it down the toilet or carefully and tightly wrapping it with tape and throwing it away in the trash. If you want to bring the tick with you to a doctor, submerge it in rubbing alcohol and place it in a tightly sealed container or bag.
Keep a close eye on the tick bite site and see a doctor if needed.
Watch the bite area after removal for any signs of prolonged rash, redness, and swelling. If you notice any of these signs and are experiencing fever, chills, paralysis, aches, or pains, it’s time to go to the doctor for evaluation.
Stay safe, and be sure to actively protect yourself from ticks when outside!
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