Back in the “old” days, my brother and sister and I played outside most of the
time. We didn’t watch TV and have all the great internet games like today. Gee, we
didn’t even have a computer back then. How did we survive?? But what we did have,
was occasional ticks, poison oak and poison ivy. Our parents were all the time trying to
figure out the old remedies to keep us safe and happy.
The following are steps to remove ticks:
▪ Remove the tick immediately wearing gloves. Grasp tick with clean tweezers as
close to the skin as possible to remove head and mouthparts and pull gently,
steadily and straight out. Do not twist. Do not use petroleum jelly or a hot match
as this might cause the tick to regurgitate infected fluids into the wound. Do not
squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick. The bodily fluids may contain
infection-causing organisms. Place the tick in a jar and keep for at least 30 days.
▪ Wash hands and clean the bite area with warm water and gentle soap, then
apply alcohol to the bite wound to prevent infection.
▪ If the tick has burrowed into the skin or if the head, mouthparts or other tick
remains cannot be removed, see a health care provider. If you develop other
symptoms like flu, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches or a rash
within one month after the bite, take the tick and see a health care provider. Also
see a provider if the area develops a lesion within the 30 days.
▪ If you have the need to see a provider and you have been given antibiotics
because of symptoms of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever or other
tick-bone disease, be sure to follow up with your provider.
Tick’s Bacterium Can Cause Lyme Disease
Ticks that are brown and about the size of a poppy seed or pencil point are deer
ticks. These can transmit Borrelia burgdorferi (bacterium that causes Lyme disease)
and other tick-borne infections, including babesiosis and anaplasmosis. A brown to
black tick with a white splotch on its back is likely a female Amblyomma americanum
and has been reported to spread an illness called STARI, causing a rash that is similar
to the erythema migrans rash. One that is easily removed and still flat and tiny without
being full of blood, could not have transmitted Lyme disease or any other infection.
Those that have finished feeding or near the end of their meal, can transmit Lyme
disease. Even if a tick is attached, it must have taken a blood meal to transmit Lyme
Signs Of Lyme Disease
Signs of Lyme disease would show a rash, usually a salmon color, and rarely it can
be an intense red resembling a skin infection. The lesion typically expands over a few
days or weeks and can reach over 8 inches in diameter. As the rash expands it can
become clear in the center then appear a lighter color than its edges or can develop into
a series of concentric rings giving it a bull’s eye appearance. EM occurs within one
month of the tick bite, typically within a week of the bite, although only 1/3 of people
recall the tick bite that gave them Lyme disease.
About 80% of people with Lyme disease develop EM and 10 to 20% have multiple
lesions. Be cautious and save the tick, observe your bite area for signs of progression
of the bite and seek medical attention with any of these previous symptoms of Lyme
disease. Keep safe and healthy and enjoy the outside!
– Dr Fredda Branyon