How do you know if a tick has bitten a pet or a family member?
Ticks are eight-legged crawling parasites that feed on the blood of humans and animals. Ticks can be found anywhere, but are prevalent during the warmer months in areas of tall grass, shrubs and wooded areas. They’re usually brown-black in color and have a flattened, oval shape.
Ticks are dangerous because they can transmit a range of illnesses including lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis. Ticks can be notoriously difficult to remove because their mouthparts are designed to cut into the skin and create a seal.
Identifying and Removing Ticks in Your Home and Health
When you come inside your home, it’s important to check yourself and your family for ticks. Ticks love to dwell in areas that have skin folds like behind the ears, on the scalp and in the arm pits and between the legs. Take your time and slowly inspect these areas. If you do find a tick embedded in your skin, don’t get panicked. Here’s the step-by-step guide for identifying and removing ticks:
Step 1: Identify the Tick
The first step to removing a tick is to identify it. Carefully inspect the tick and take note of its size, color, and shape. Pay special attention to the mouthparts and see if they are visible. Once you have identified the tick, it is important to note how deeply it is embedded in the skin. If the tick is not deep in the skin, it can be removed easily. If the tick is deeply lodged, special care needs to be taken when removing the tick.
Step 2: Remove the Tick
There are two ways to remove a tick safely. The first is to use a pair of tweezers or a tick-removal tool. Grasp the tick firmly and as close to the skin as possible. Gently pull the tick out in a straight, upward motion and avoid twisting. Once the tick is removed, dispose of it properly and wash the area with antiseptic.
The other way to remove a tick is using a dab of petroleum jelly. Place the jelly over the tick and wait a few minutes. The tick will separate from the skin on its own and can then be safely disposed of.
Step 3: Disinfect the Area
Once the tick has been removed, it is important to disinfect the area. Use an antiseptic solution or rubbing alcohol to kill any remaining bacteria and germs. If possible, keep the tick in a jar so it can be identified later if needed. Most importantly, if you have any signs of fever or infection after removing the tick, it’s important to seek medical attention.
Preventing Ticks from Entering Your Home
The best way to prevent ticks is by taking steps to keep them out of your home. Keep lawn grass mowed short, remove any brush and leaf piles, and trim shrubs and trees. These measures will reduce the places where ticks can hide and live.
It is also important to wear appropriate clothing when spending time outdoors. Light colors and long pants, shirts, and socks make it easier to spot ticks and to prevent them from attaching to the skin. Be sure to inspect and wash clothes after spending time outdoors. A tick repellent with DEET is also helpful.
Identifying and removing ticks from your home and health can help reduce the risk of serious illnesses. By following the above steps, you can lessen your chances of coming into contact with ticks. Additionally, taking preventative measures can help to keep ticks from entering your property in the first place. Always be sure to practice proper hygiene and if you suspect your property has been infiltrated by ticks, consider calling a pest control professional.