Tick Season: Safely Remove and Identify Ticks

While going on hikes and living around a wooded area may be beautiful, finding a tick on your body isn’t the most pleasant surprise.  During tick season, especially if you’ve been outdoors, it is important to check your body for ticks.  

At times, identifying ticks isn’t all that easy. Ticks get very creative with their hiding spots, and it is common to find them in areas where you’d least expect them to be.  That is why it’s important to check areas such as your groin, head, and underarms. Here are a few things to do and remember as you’re searching for ticks:

When checking for ticks, always use a fine-toothed comb to comb your hair, and have someone check your scalp. Don’t forget to check all gear or any other clothes that you brought with you in the woods. This includes backpacks, blankets, pillows, shoes, and small snack bags. When you arrive home, place your clothes in a hot dryer, or hang them to dry in the sun for at least 15 minutes. The heat will kill the ticks.

Check your children for ticks daily.  Keep this in mind especially during the summer months.  Always remember to check your pets for ticks, especially if they’ve been outdoors.  Pets can carry infected ticks and bring them inside. These ticks can fall off your pet and attach to you.

If you’ve identified a tick, here is a step-by-step procedure on how to safely remove the tick:

  1. Using tweezers, grab the tick as close to its mouth (or as close to your skin) as possible.  The remainder of the tick’s body will be above your skin.
  2. You should never grab the tick by its body, or center.  By doing so, you could push the infected fluid that the tick carries into your body.
  3. Gently pull the tick straight out of your skin, until the tick’s mouth releases your skin.  Make sure you do not twist the tick.  Twisting the tick can result in breaking the tick’s body and leaving its head in your skin.
  4. Place the tick in a jar or ziplock bag and then place it in the freezer, in case you need to identify it later.
  5. Now you should wash the infected area of your skin with warm, clean water.  Also, make sure you wash your hands very well with soap and water.
  6. Cover the wound with a layer of Vaseline, and protect it with a nonstick bandage.  Apply more Vaseline and replace the bandage as needed.

There is no need to fear tick season when you have a go-to procedure to safely identify and remove ticks. Remember to check yourself, and all of your clothing, as soon as you return from being outdoors.  As long as you keep an eye out for ticks, and know how to safely remove them, you can tackle tick season with no problem!

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