Tick Bites

Tick bites can cause several diseases in humans, including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The best way to avoid getting sick from a tick bite is to take measures to prevent them. Using insect repellants containing DEET will greatly reduce the potential for bites. When working in areas where ticks are prevalent, protective clothing such as long pants, long sleeves and socks will reduce the chances of a bite. Ticks live in moist areas and are often found in vegetation around ponds, birdbaths and other water sources. Regular lawn mowing reduces moisture in yards that can attract ticks.

Even with preventative measures, you may still get bitten. It is therefore important to know what to do when you are bitten by one.

Firstly, remove the tick properly. This is done by carefully grasping the tick with a pair of tweezers as close to the surface of the skin as possible. Pull the tick out with even, steady pressure. Avoid jerky movements that can leave the mouth of the tick imbedded in the skin. After the tick has been removed, thoroughly wash the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet. Smashing ticks may release microbes that cause illness. Finally, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water after disposing of the tick.

Next, carefully observe the area of the bite for several days. Swelling, itching or red bumps in the area of the bite are normal reactions. However, if you experience other symptoms, such as fever, chills, headaches, a red rash, anorexia, tiredness or muscle weakness, consult a health care professional. These are symptoms of tick borne illness and need to be addressed with medication. A caregiver should treat any illness as soon as possible. Treatment usually includes a course of antibiotics and may include a topical steroid.

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