In many areas of the country, ticks are a common pest; they're often found in wooded areas and become the most problematic when they decide to bite a human. That's because ticks also tend to burrow deep into the skin, transmitting their bacteria in the process and sometimes burrowing so far down that removal is difficult. If you live in an area where ticks are common and spend a fair amount of time outdoors, it's important to inspect the skin for ticks regularly and know what to do if you find one.
DO Use a Blade or Tweezers to Remove
If possible, use tweezers or a blade to carefully remove the tick as quickly as possible. When using tweezers to pull a tick out from the skin, try not to twist the tweezers, as this can actually cause the head of the tick to detach from the body. Instead, pull the tick straight out. If the tick has burrowed too far down to remove with tweezers or a blade, you'll need to see a doctor for removal.
DON'T Forget to Disinfect the Area
Once the tick is removed, throw it away and immediately cleanse the affected area of your skin. The best way to do this is to pour hydrogen peroxide over the bite; it will sting and burn for a minute, but that means the area is being thoroughly disinfected, which will reduce your chances of infection.
DO Keep an Eye on the Affected Area
Even once you've removed the tick and disinfected the area, it's important to keep an eye on the skin around the bite, as infection can still occur. If you notice a lot of redness around the area, swelling, or itchiness, pick up some over-the-counter antibiotic cream from your local pharmacy. This should help to reduce the irritation quickly.
DON'T Overlook Symptoms of Lyme Disease
In some cases, ticks can be carries of Lyme disease, which is a serious disease that can affect the brain, heart, nervous system, and more. Generally, symptoms of Lyme disease don't show up until a few weeks after the initial bite, so be sure to look out for symptoms. Common symptoms include a red, scaly rash around the bite area, headache, fever, flu-like symptoms, and swollen glands. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms in the weeks after a tick bite, see a doctor immediately. For more tips about tick control and prevention, talk with a place like Greenwood Tree Experts. If you know you have a large tick population in your neighborhood, a tree service can help you eliminate these critters' homes by maintaining your property.