When the weather turns warmer things begin to come to life. Flowers and grasses bloom. Ticks begin to crawl on the flowers, grasses and trees, waiting to ambush an unexpecting victim. Ticks are small parasites that wait on leaves, in thick grass or weeds, or even on animals, until their next warm-blooded meal passes by. Then they latch on for their feast.
Dangerous Tick Bites
In addition to being parasitic, some ticks also carry diseases that can be fatal to humans. Rocky mountain spotted fever is a disease spread by an infected tick bite. This disease is marked by a rash on the wrists along with blackened or crusted skin at the bite sight. This disease causes rash, a headache, fever, and muscle aches. In circumstances where it is left untreated, it can be fatal.
Lyme disease is also a concern to hikers, campers, mountain climbers, and others who seek the outdoor life – even in their backyard. This disease is marked by a bite that is ringed with a larger circle. It looks exactly like a bullseye target. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, and weakness in the limbs. The infection can be treated with antibiotics. Most people recover completely with proper care. However, a few people develop Lyme disease syndromes, which cause lasting intermittent pain and muscle fatigue. For these people, pain medications can help provide relief for the flair-ups.
Of course, there is always the chance for infection with a tick bite. If the tick is not removed properly, the head may remain embedded in the skin, causing more problems. These parasites are a problem for dogs, wild animals, and humans alike. So what can be done to prevent a bite?
Preventing Tick Bites
There are some easy steps you can take to lessen the chances of getting bit by a tick. If you will be outdoors, even in your own garden, wear an insect repellent that works on ticks. Spray it on liberally. This will help to prevent the ticks from burrowing into your skin.
Wear a hat. Ticks love to hang out on tree leaves. If you will be in woody areas, a hat may prevent the blood-suckers from hiding in your hair and burrowing in. It is also a good idea to wear long pants and long sleeves with buttons at the wrists and ties or elastic at the ankles. This will make it harder for ticks to get inside your clothes. Another good idea is to wear light-colored clothing. White or light-colored clothes will make it much easier to spot the dark-colored little ticks on your clothing.
If you discover a tick on your clothes, simply pluck it off and destroy it. However, if you find a tick that has already bitten into your skin, you will need to take different measures.
If You Are Bit
If you spend lots of time outdoors, or if your pet spends time outside and then comes inside, you increase your chances for getting a tick bite. If you look down and discover a tick burrowed into your skin, don’t panic. A knee-jerk reaction is to grab it and pull it off. Doing this may make things worse, though. Pulling off a tick could result in the head of the tick remaining in your skin. Take time to find a pair of tweezers. Firmly grasp the tick by the head or the part of the head that still remains visible above the skin. Pull the tick straight out. Destroy the tick and clean the area with alcohol or cleanser. Watch the area closely to make sure no rashes or rings appear around the area.
People who grab the tick incorrectly, like around the body, risk the tick regurgitating on the skin, which could cause an infection. Others who burn the tick with a match run the risk of burning their skin or causing the tick to regurgitate. They could also burn the tick body, leaving the head still embedded. Soap is said to make a tick let go but this is not proven. Stick with the simple, effective and proven tweezer removal method.