The deer tick is a parasite that embeds itself into the skin of its host and sucks blood. It sounds disgusting and can be serious because the deer tick is responsible for several different diseases in humans, including Lyme disease. Fall is peak time for ticks. They reside on stalks of grass or leaf tops waiting for a host. They prefer deer, but they also crawl onto dogs, cats and humans. If a tick embeds into your skin, it must be removed within 36 hours to prevent the possibility of Lyme disease.
Things You'll Need
- Blunt curved tweezers
- Soap and water or disinfectant wash
Pull off the tick gently. Using a pair of blunt curved tweezers, grasp the head area of the tick as close to the skin as you can. Slowly pull upward with a steady and even pressure. The skin will begin to lift and the tick will back out. Don't crush the tick because fluids containing bacteria can leak out. It's important to pull firmly without jerking or shaking the tweezers. This will keep the tick whole.
Wash the area. Once you have removed the tick, dispose of it unless you want it checked for Lyme disease. Wash the area with soap and water or a disinfectant solution. It's important to examine the tick to make sure the whole tick was removed from the skin. If a circular rash develops where the tick was, watch it carefully. An infected area will look like a bull's-eye with a clear center and a round red area. Sometimes the area is a complete red circle. It may take a week before the rash occurs.
Watch the area and pay attention to unusual symptoms. If the red area persists for 3 to 5 weeks, see a doctor. Mild symptoms are joint pain, chills, fever and fatigue. These may appear when the rash appears. More severe symptoms are stiff neck, severe headaches, fever, extreme fatigue or tingling in the extremities.
Take precautions. When you are outside, avoid tall grass and wooded areas. Stay on clear paths. Spray your clothes and exposed skin with a bug repellent containing DEET. When you come inside, check your clothing. When you shower, check around your neck, underarms, the backs of your knees and any creased areas of the body.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear light clothes so the ticks will show up easily.
- Photo Credit ClickArt by Broderbund
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