It is important that attached ticks be removed as quickly as possible. Though most ticks do not carry disease, many of the ticks that are carrying disease do not begin transmitting it for an average of 36-48 hours after they have become attached. The faster the tick is removed the lower the chances of suffering the side effects from a bite.
- Using a pair of clean tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin by the head and mouthparts as possible. Pulling it by the body can detach the head.
- Firmly pull the tick straight out. The longer the tick has had to embed into the skin, the harder it will be to remove. Do not wiggle it back and forth in attempts to loosen the grasp.
- Drop the tick into a small container of alcohol, which will kill it. Preserve it in the case that symptoms develop. Your doctor’s ability to identify the tick could help to diagnose your infection much more quickly.
- Wash the area and your hands with soap and water after handling the tick.
- Monitor the bite site for any changes or abnormalities such as an expanding rash around the bite site. Pay attention to any changes in health in the next 3-30 days.
Any one of these symptoms could be an indication of a variety of illnesses, but if a tick has bitten you in the last 30 days, they warrant a closer look.
Flu-like symptoms, rash, fever, stiff neck, muscle aches or weakness, joint pain, or fever. Call 911 if experience heart palpitations, paralysis, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or a severe headache.
“American Lyme Disease Foundation.” American Lyme Disease Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. http://www.aldf.com/lyme.shtml
“Tick bites: First aid – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-tick-bites/FA00062.