Although most tick bites are harmless if removed immediately, as tick populations grow and spread everywhere, the risks they carry also increase. For example, did you know that, besides Lyme disease, a tick bite can also lead to other diseases, including:
- Powassan virus
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Alpha-gal syndrome.
Granted, most ticks do not carry disease, however, the risk is there. For this reason, it’s very important to be careful and keep an eye out while you, your loved ones and your pets are outside, in nature.
How to Remove Ticks
First things first – if you notice a tick crawling on either yours or someone else’s skin, remove it immediately. It’s always better to prevent a bite than to deal with it later.
If you’ve already been bitten by a tick, it’s best to stick to a recommended, tried and tested technique.
According to a board-certified dermatologist, Lindsay Strowd, MD, FAAD, to remove a tick, you should always use tweezers.
- First, sterilize the tip of the tweezers you’ll use with alcohol, and make sure your hands are steady.
- Grasp the tick as close to your skin’s surface as possible and pull upward with steady pressure.
- Do not twist or squeeze the tick as you can break it in half, leaving one part of their body in your skin. If, however, this does happen, use the tweezers in the same way to remove the part stuck in your skin.
- When you remove the tick, clean the area with soap and water.
Once removed, keep the tick in a sealed jar for a few days. This is done so that the tick can be tested for disease in case you develop any symptoms after the bite. If nothing happens, dispose of the tick.
How to Prevent Future Bites
To prevent any future tick bites, Dr. Strowd recommends:
- When in nature, walk in the center of trails,
- Avoid walking through areas with tall grass and heavily wooded areas,
- If you must walk through these areas, wear long sleeves and long pants,
- Wear light-colored clothes, so that you can spot a tick easier,
- After spending time in nature, examine your skin,
- Pay special attention to warm areas of your body like armpits, groin and hair.