Ticks - Don't Fall For The Myths

Tick season

Ticks are most active in the spring, summer, and fall but may be active year round in warm weather regions. Knowing how to remove a tick is a useful skill for anyone who spends time outdoors. The sooner a tick is removed the less likely the tick can transfer tick-borne diseases.

Remove all embedded ticks by grasping them close to the skin with a pair of tweezers and pulling gentle, steady traction-in-line. Do not twist as you may cause the head to remain in the skin. Once the tick has been removed, clean the skin and wash your hands. Monitor for signs and symptoms of infection.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fever

  • Muscle aches

  • Rash

  • Fatigue

  • Joint pain

Don’t fall for the myths

There are several remedies for removing ticks by making them back out such as touching it with a match, covering it with petroleum jelly, nail polish and so on. This often causes the opposite reaction and if the tick does back out it could possibly deposit more of its disease carrying secretions into you, which increases the risk of infection. Basically, the tick could vomit before backing out. Yuck!

Prevention

  • Perform tick checks at least twice daily while outdoors

  • Wear light colored long pants and shirts when traveling in tick country

  • Consider using DEET

  • Use insecticide permethrin on clothing and gear ONLY. This substance repels ticks and biting insects for up to 2 weeks

  • Stay away from tall grass and brush

  • Tuck your shirt into your pants and tuck your pants into your socks.

  • After spending time outdoors, throw your clothes in the hot dryer for an hour. The heat will kill any ticks.

  • Shower as soon as you can and do a full body check

  • Remove all embedded ticks immediately

Tick-borne Diseases

Tick-borne pathogens can be passed to humans by the bite of infected ticks. Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Some tick-borne diseases in the United States include:

  • Lyme Disease

  • Babesiosis

  • Ehrlichiosis

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

  • Anaplasmosis

  • Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness

  • Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever

  • Tularemia

  • Colorado Tick Fever

  • Powassan Encephalitis

  • Q Fever.