What to Do When a Tick Bites You
Remove the tick as soon as possible. The easiest method is to grasp the tic with fine tweezers , as near to the skin
as you can, and to gently pull the tick out. You may want to save the tick in a small jar for later identification. Check
to see whether the tick mouthparts broke off in the wound. If they did, seek medical attention to get them removed. If you
get any symtoms of Lyme disease in the following week to several months, see a physician immediately. Be sure to tell the
doctor that you were bitten by a tick. A blood test can help determine if you have been exposed to Lyme disease.
Seventy percent of all Lyme disease cases occurs from bites of the immature
(nymph) deer tick. Before feeding, nymphs are the size of a poppy seed with a dark head and translucent body. After feeding,
they swell and appear dark gray and round, about the size of a mustard seed.
An Adult deer tic is the size of a sesame seed before feeding; females
have a black head and brick red abdomen. After feeding, they turn gray and swell to the size of a sunflower seed kernel.
A Deer tick is active all year round, as long as the temperature
is over 35°F. Peak activity months are May-June (nymphs), and October-November (adults).
Ticks are tiny bugs, about the size of a sesame seed, which feed on blood. Different ticks prefer different types of animals.
Sometimes a tick bites a person instead of biting an animal. While most tick bites do not result in disease, some tick bites do
The organism which causes Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) has been found in ticks collected from many areas
of the united states, and health authorities now believe that ticks carrying Lyme disease may be present throughout the world
Not all ticks carry this bacteria, and there is only a very small chance of a tick giving it to you. However,
because the resulting disease can be serious, it is worth taking steps to avoid tick bites.
Tic Bites-- Treatment and Control--The best method of avoiding a tick is to stay
away from known tick infested areas. If visiting such an area, light coloured clothing should be worn as a tick will
be easier to spot, trousers should be tucked into socks and a repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin should be applied. Use a cream repellant on the skin and apply a spray repellent to the clothing (note
that deet can damage some synthetic clothing). All clothing should be removed on return and placed into a hot dryer for
20 minutes to kill any ticks that may still be on the clothing. Note that a tick can be on the body for some 2 hours before
attaching - this is how they can attach to the head (contrary to popular belief, they do not fall out of trees). The body should then be searched for ticks especially behind the ears and on the back of the head. Children
and pets should be examined for ticks and tick bites after visiting a bushland area.
Avoid tick habitats: Whenever possible, avoid entering areas that are likely to be
infested with ticks, particularly in spring and summer when nymphal ticks feed. Ticks favor a moist, shaded environment, especially
areas with leaf litter and low-lying vegetation in wooded, brushy or overgrown grassy habitat. Both deer and rodent hosts
must be abundant to maintain the enzootic cycle of B. burgdorferi from deer ticks
If a tick is detected that is attached, never attempt to place any chemical
such as methylated spirits onto the tick, nor should it be touched or disturbed as the tick will inject saliva into the skin,
which could make the situation worse. Rather the tick should be sprayed with an aerosol insect repellent preferably
containing pyrethrin or a pyrethroid (if a repellant can not be found which contains a pyrethroid, then Lyclear,
a scabies cream containing permethrin will work fine). The combination of hydrocarbons and the pyrethrin acts as a
narcotic and prevents the tick from injecting its saliva. The tick should be sprayed again, one minute later (or dab the tick with
the Lyclear). The tick should then be left as long as possible (preferably 24 hours) and then the tick should drop
off. If there are any residual symptoms from tick bites, or any other symptoms develop then consult your doctor.
Home Care for Tick Bites
- Reassurance: Most tick bites are harmless. The spread of disease by tick bites is rare.
- Tick Removal:
- Use a tweezers and grasp the wood tick close to the skin (on the ticks head).
- Pull the wood tick straight upward without twisting or crushing it.
- Maintain a steady pressure until it releases its grip.
- If tweezers aren't available, use fingers, a loop of thread around the ticks jaws, or a needle between the jaws for
- Tiny deer ticks need to be scraped off with a knife blade or credit card edge.
- Note: covering the tick with petroleum jelly, nail polish, or rubbing alcohol doesn't work. Neither does touching the
tick with a hot or cold object.
- Tick's Head: If the wood tick's head breaks off in the skin, remove it.
- Clean the skin with rubbing alcohol.
- Use a sterile needle to uncover the ticks head and lift it out.
- If unsuccessful, call your doctor.
- Antibiotic Ointment: Wash the tick bite wound and your hands with soap and water after removal of
the tick to prevent catching any tick disease. Apply antibiotic ointment to the tick bite once.
- Expected Course: Tick bites normally don't itch or hurt. That's why tick bites often go unnoticed.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- You can't remove the tick or the tick's head
- Fever or rash in the next 2 weeks
- Tic Bite begins to look infected
- Your child becomes worse or develops any of the Call Your Doctor symptoms
Insect Repellent and Bite Treatment
(n-diethyl-m-toluamide)DEET is still the most effective chemical that is safe for skin application to prevent tick bites, mosquito bites, and other insect
bites. DEET has been in existence since 1957, and when used at a strength of 30% or less, is still acceptable to prevent insect
bites and tick bites. Problems arise in the elderly and children when concentrations higher than 10% are used and when the
lotion is applied over a large surface area. A lotion is better than a spray because the application can be better controlled.
Do not let small children apply the lotion themselves and do not apply it on their hands where they may accidentally ingest
it. Keep it away from the mouth, lips and eyes, as well. A single application is all that is necessary to prevent insect bites
or tick bites unless one has been swimming or actively perspiring.