Tick Talk

As more folks venture outdoors and approach gardens and take part in nature walks, it is important to know that ticks are waiting.

Ticks are parasites Along with mites, they constitute the subclass Acari. Adult ticks are approximately 3 to 5 mm in length depending on age, sex, species, and "fullness".

According to Mayo Clinic, tick bites are painless and cause only minor signs and symptoms, such as redness, swelling or a sore on the skin. But some ticks transmit bacteria that cause illnesses, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In general, to transmit Lyme disease a tick needs to be attached for at least 36 hours. Other infections can be transferred in a few hours or even a few minutes.

To take care of a tick bite

  • Remove the tick promptly and carefully. Use fine-tipped forceps or tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Gently pull out the tick using a slow and steady upward motion. Avoid twisting or squeezing the tick. Don't handle the tick with bare hands. Experts don't recommend using petroleum jelly, fingernail polish or a hot match to remove a tick.
  • If possible, seal the tick in a container. Put the container in a freezer. Your doctor may want to see the tick if you develop new symptoms.
  • Wash your hands and the bite site. Use warm water and soap, rubbing alcohol, or an iodine scrub.

When to seek emergency care

Call 911 or your local emergency number if you develop:

  • A severe headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Paralysis
  • Heart palpitations