Tick Bites

tickWe are in that season where tick bites are a concern.  Lyme disease is our greatest concern, but ticks can also give us Rocky Mountain spotted fever, as well as a number of other infections.  Be careful, but also realize that most tick bites do not result in Lyme Disease, especially if the tick was attached for less than 24 hours.

To remove a tick, grab it close to the skin with fine tipped tweezers and use gentle traction to pull it out.  Do not twist it as the tick head has barbs and you may break off the head.  Wash the area with soapy water or a mild disinfectant.  Applying an antibiotic ointment is also recommended.  If  part of the tick remains in the crater, retain the tick in a closed container as a help in assessing the risk of infection.

If a rash or flu-like symptoms appear in the following 30 days report them to your physician.   Other symptoms can include weakness, nausea, fever, vomiting, palpitations, rash, joint pain, swelling, numbness, and confusion.  Lyme disease often results in an evenly red or a bulls eye shaped rash.  Rocky Mountain spotted fever causes a pinpoint flat rash on the arms and legs.  It is recommended to seek immediate treatment if you develop a Lyme rash.

To help prevent bites:

1.Wear light-colored clothing so ticks can be easily seen, and brush them off.

2.Tuck pants into boots or socks to avoid ticks crawling up loose pant legs.

3.Apply insect repellant and use the brands designed to repel ticks. Follow label instructions. Avoid use of DEET-containing repellents on children. Carefully follow instructions and apply some repellents directly to skin and others to clothing. DEET-containing repellents with concentrations of 15% or less may be suitable for children. These should be carefully applied strictly following label directions. Repellents containing permethrins may be applied to clothing but not to skin. In areas that have a high tick population, DEET-containing repellents may need to be reapplied more frequently than for repelling mosquitoes. Follow the package label instructions carefully.

Most importantly, don’t hesitate to seek medical help even if you aren’t absolutely sure you have been infected.  Timely treatment is critical and can help you to a positive outcome.