If you spend time outdoors or have pets that go outdoors, you need to beware of ticks. Ticks are small bloodsucking parasites. Many species transmit diseases to animals and people. Some of the diseases you can get from a tick bite are Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.

Some ticks are so small that they can be difficult to see. Ticks may get on you if you walk through areas where they live, such as tall grass, leaf litter or shrubs.

Tick-borne diseases occur worldwide, including in your own backyard. To help protect yourself and your family, you should

  • Use a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin
  • Wear light-colored protective clothing
  • Tuck pant legs into socks
  • Avoid tick-infested areas
  • Check yourself, your children and your pets daily for ticks and carefully remove any ticks you find

HOW TO REMOVE A TICK

  1. Use tweezers with a good grasping end to remove the tick as close to the skin as possible. Do not use your bare hands. Wear gloves or use a tissue to protect your hands from the tick.
  2. Grabbing the tick near the skin, pull upward with a slow, steady motion. Avoid sudden jerking or twisting motions.
  3. Place the tick in a sealable plastic bag and put it in the freezer. Do not crush or destroy the tick, and avoid touching the tick or any fluid that comes from it, including blood. You want to keep it for identification in case the bitten person becomes sick. Make a note of the date you removed the tick.
  4. Thoroughly disinfect the site of the tick bite, and wash your hands thoroughly.
  5. If the bitten person shows signs of having the flu or a rash in the area around the bite, contact your healthcare provider.

An alternative to this method if you do not have tweezers, is to apply Vaseline or Neosporin ointment over the tick, which can then be covered with a band-aid, to wait. This process will smother the tick, and the tick will literally back out of the wound. Again use gloves and wash hands thoroughly with warm soap and water. Place the tick in a zip locked bag and place in the freezer. If the bitten person shows signs of having the flu or a rash in the area around the bite, contact your healthcare provider right away. If the bitten person becomes ill, take the tick with you to the healthcare provider in the zip lock bag.

Sources:
National Institute of Health online services