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How to: Treat Tick Bites

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We have had many request to repost our “How to” guide on treating tick bites.  This article was published back in 2010.  Enjoy!

Did you know there are over 850 different species of ticks?! Yuck!

With spring in full gear and the sight of summer on the horizon Family Medical Walk-In Clinic feels it is important to let you know the “How to’s” when it comes to dealing with ticks.

It is important you know how to;

1. Identify a tick

2. Know where they hide out

3. Remove a tick

4. Treat a tick bite

5. Proper precautions

What is a Tick?

According to MedlinePlus.com ticks are bloodsucking parasites. These species transmit diseases to humans and animals.

There are Two Kinds of Ticks:

1. Soft ticks, the argasids, have soft, leathery shells with sub-terminal mouth-parts that are on the underside of the tick.
2. Hard ticks, the lxodids, have a hard plate on their dorsal surface and have terminal mouth-parts.

Did you know?

According to SpokaneOutdoors.com:

  • Soft ticks are fast feeders and blow up like a balloon once full.
  • Hard ticks are slow feeders, taking several days to finish their meal.
  • A tick can suck up to 8 ml of blood in one feeding!
  • Ticks can intake 100X their body weight in blood (wow, that is disgusting!)

Where Ticks Hide Out:

•Wooded areas
•Hiking trails
•Campgrounds
•Backyards

How to Remove Ticks:

•Wear some type of gloves (plastic or cloth) while handling the tick.
•Use tweezers: grasp the tick as closest to the skin as possible and pick up the body and pull upward slowly and gently and the mouth-parts should release. Do NOT twist or jerk.

Note: If you see what looks like black lines, then the head is still attached. At this point, you should try and pick it out. If you can’t get it out, please see a doctor immediately. If the tick is not completely removed, you risk infection.

•Once removed, disinfect where the tick was removed (Do NOT squish or squeeze the body of the tick; it’s fluids may contain infectious organisms).
•Wash your hands with soap and water immediately!
•Save the tick (I know, I know…gross) but you need to save it for identification in case you fall ill. This will help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

To save: Place in a plastic sealable bag and place in your freezer- write the date of the bite on the bag.

Types of diseases: (This is a partial list)


•Babesiosis
•Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever
•Lyme Disease
•Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI)
•Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever
•Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

To learn more about these different types; please click on their names above.

Tick Symptoms:


•Rashes
•Headaches
•Fevers
•Nausea
•Muscle pain

To learn more visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/symptoms.html

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases usually a tick needs to be attached to your body for at least 24 hours before it can infect you.

Tick Treatments:

1.Antibiotics should be initiated immediately when there is a suspicion of tick-borne illness.

2.If the patient is treated within the first 4-5 days, the fever will usually subside within 24-72 hours, with appropriate antibiotics.

To learn more visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/treatment.html

How to: Protect Yourself & Your Family:

•Use a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin
•Wear light-colored protective clothing
•Tuck pant legs into socks or high boots
•Avoid tick infested areas
•Check yourself and children anytime after you have been outdoors

To see different examples of ticks, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/transmission.html

Warm weather’s great but tick bites are NOT! Be safe out there my friends!!!

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/tick_removal.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tickbites.html

http://www.spokaneoutdoors.com/ticks.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/babesiosis/

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/spb/mnpages/dispages/cchf.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/index.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/stari/

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/RelapsingFever/

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/symptoms.html

http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/transmission.html

http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/rockyMountainSpottedFever/Pages/default.aspx

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