Tick bite prevention and treatment




Summer is filled with outdoor activities. Whether you're camping, hiking, or doing some general exploring, it's important that you check for ticks. There are many ways to prevent ticks, but even the most precautionary individuals can be vulnerable and may need to know how to treat a tick bite in the short and long term.


Tick bite prevention


Avoid wooded or brushy areas with high grass while walking in the center of trails. Use insect repellent in areas where you’d typically find mosquitoes and other insects, because ticks are likely present as well. Many insect repellents will indicate on the label if the spray will repel ticks. You can also look for any repellent that contains over 20 percent DEET, picardidin, or IR3535. Parents should apply repellents to their children to make sure that all areas are covered and to avoid their hands, eyes, and mouth.

Treatment


Bathe within two hours of coming indoors to check for ticks. It makes it easier to find ticks that are crawling on you. Conduct a full body tick check on everyone that was outdoors. Be sure everyone in your group checks places that may not be immediately visible, such as under the arm, in or around ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, in the hair, and around the waist.

Ticks can attach to pets or gear and then attach to a human later, so closely look over all items that were outdoors with you. Whether you find ticks or not, tumble dry all clothes on high heat for 10 minutes to kill any ticks you may not have found.

If you notice a tick bite on yourself or a member of your party, a local cleansing agent and antibiotic crème may be applied. If the bite is causing itching, Benadryl may be useful to reduce this.

The best way to remove a tick is to wear gloves and then grasp the tick firmly with a tweezers. You will want to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible without crushing the tick. Gently pull it upward until the tick comes free. Do not twist or turn as this can break off parts and increase chance for infection. It is a good idea to keep the tick in a tightly closed jar just in case a person becomes ill after the tick bite; otherwise, dispose by flushing down the toilet.

Symptoms


If you are bitten by a tick, you may experience pain, swelling, or burning sensation at the bite site and sometimes a rash. Ticks may carry diseases, so  if more severe symptoms such as nausea, weakness, full body rash, headache, fever, chills, or swollen lymph nodes, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Click here for more information on tick bite prevention, treatment, and symptoms. By following these treatment and prevention tips, you can reduce the chances of getting ill from a tick bite.