How to Prevent Tick Bites (+ Safe Tick Removal)


How to forestall parasite bites

I can hoop childbirth, corporeal fluids, and poop… though ticks? Ugh!

Fun fact (if there can be anything fun about ticks): they don’t punch though they technically sting. Either way, a parasite punch can be unequivocally harmful.

Here are some of a stairs we can take to forestall hit with ticks, and what to do if one bites notwithstanding your best efforts to equivocate them.

Are Tick Bites Dangerous?

In a word, approbation they can be.

Many of us are wakeful of a earnest and widespread widespread of Lyme disease, that is now some-more common than breast cancer. While it is probable to agreement Lyme in other ways, ticks are overwhelmingly responsible.

Other reduction common tick-borne spreading diseases embody anaplasmosis, speckled feverishness rickettsiosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado parasite fever, and others that means symptoms identical to Lyme disease. Although these are singular in comparison to Lyme, they are obliged for several thousand cases of tick-related illness in a US any year.

Lyme illness can potentially means determined fever, rash, headaches, ongoing corner pain and swelling, allergic reactions, and even critical and debilitating neurological disorders. Lyme illness is generally discouraging given it is mostly formidable to diagnose, as Dr. Jay Davidson explains in this podcast.

Where Are Ticks a Problem?

Cases of tick-borne illness tend to cluster around a northeastern United States, though according to a Center for Disease Control during slightest one box of tick-caused Lyme illness has occurred in any state.

The CDC continues to guard a ceiling trend. Spokeperson Rebecca Eisen, a investigate biologist from a National Center for Infectious Diseases, explains:

Since a late 1990s, a series of reported cases of Lyme illness in a United States has tripled and a series of counties in a northeastern and top Midwestern United States that are deliberate high-risk for Lyme illness has increasing by some-more than 300%. One reason for this trend is that a ticks that can broadcast Lyme illness have stretched their geographic operation and are now being found in places they weren’t seen 20 years ago.

According a final statistical refurbish from a CDC in 2016, a following states are deliberate high-risk:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachussetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Maine, Vermont, and Pennsylvania have a top occurrence rate of Lyme cases. Data from 2013-2016 shows about 50-80 cases per 100,000 persons start annually in any of those states. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and tools of Michigan are also experiencing an boost in cases in new years.

If we live in one of these areas it’s critical to take active stairs to revoke chances of parasite bites, generally in a open and summer when ticks are hatching and looking for their subsequent meal.

How to Check for Ticks

Engorged ticks are easier to spot, though some ticks can be as small as a pin head. They like to censor in warm, moist, lonesome areas of a body. First, showering off to mislay any disconnected ticks. To do a parasite check, entirely go by a hair and nape of a neck, feeling with a fingers. Here are some other places ticks like to censor out:

  • Behind arms
  • Behind a knees
  • In or around a ears
  • Belly button
  • Between a legs
  • Around a waist

Rather than play naturalist, I’ll indicate we to a best parasite marker apparatus I’ve found. This accessible draft with parasite pictures lets we filter by region, type, stages of maturity, stages of feeding, and even by that diseases any parasite form competence carry. The deer parasite is a categorical one to demeanour out for, though not a usually one that causes problems.

What to Do If You Find a Tick

I’ll never forget a day we leaned over to check out a dim symbol on a baby’s head. Sure enough… it was A TICK feasting on her scalp. I’m usually going to fake like we kept my cold and knew accurately what to do during a time, though it couldn’t be serve from a truth…

A few kids later, we don’t like ticks any improved though we now know what to do when we see one. If you’re an gifted mom or have pets around you’ve substantially been by this cavalcade a few times before, though if we haven’t, here’s what to do:

  1. Check to see if a parasite is attached. If a parasite is small, flat, and crawling around on your clothes, skin, a floor, etc., this is a good pointer as a parasite has not bitten anyone or fed recently. If it is vast with a full, turn body, this is some-more worrisome as it might have fed and depressed off of a pet or chairman in a home.
  2. If unattached, don’t try to kill it. If a parasite is unattached, conflict a titillate to crush, burn, or differently destroy it. (It’s hard, we know.) Do not hold a parasite with your unclothed hands though use tweezers or fasten to squeeze it. Put it in a hermetic cosmetic bag or small jar in a freezer. This both kills a parasite and preserves it for marker if symptoms of a parasite punch develop.
  3. If attached, here’s what to do (and not to do): 

How NOT to Remove a Tick

There are copiousness of home pill solutions for parasite removal, though these might do some-more mistreat than good. Burning a tick, putting essential oils on it, or greasing it with Vaseline might sound creative, though they can indeed annoy a tick.

I don’t unequivocally caring about a tick’s feelings, though if a parasite is raw it can puke a essence of a stomach (pathogens included!) into a skin. Exactly what we don’t wish to happen!

For years a correct parasite dismissal formula has pronounced to use a span of forked tweezers and lift it true out. While this works a lot of a time, it can leave a mouth of a parasite embedded in a skin.

(Sidenote: we can’t tell we a series of times I’ve felt an invisible parasite crawling on me while essay this post!)

What to Do Instead: Safe Tick Removal

Instead, use a parasite dismissal device like this one. It resembles a spork that is extrinsic between a parasite and a skin, afterwards disfigured kindly until a parasite releases. I keep one on my keychain during parasite season.

Unlike a tweezer method, this device is many some-more expected to outcome in a purify removal. The prongs on possibly side assistance safeguard that a parasite mouth doesn’t hook too distant to a side and snap off while rotating.

If we don’t have a parasite dismissal tool, use tweezers though squeeze a parasite as tighten to a head/mouth as possible.

How to Remove a Tick

  1. First, try to ignore the super-mom adrenaline pumping by your body!
  2. Approach a parasite from a side with device or tweezers.
  3. Slide a notched parasite dismissal device underneath a bottom of a parasite control and a skin. If regulating tweezers, request them resolutely as tighten to a mouth/skin as possible.
  4. With a firm, slight lifting motion, kindly spin a parasite remover until a parasite detaches itself. If regulating tweezers, lift adult resolutely though continuously. Don’t jerk or twist.
  5. Put a parasite in a hermetic bag, symbol it with a date, and put it in a freezer. This kills it and saves it for marker if symptoms come up.
  6.  Make certain that there are no parasite tools left embedded in a skin. If there are, pulling it out with tweezers like a crush or regulating a sketch compose can be helpful.
  7.  Wash a area with soap and H2O and request an antimicrobial to a area. Diluted lavender or germ-fighting essential oil brew are both good options.

Chances are all will be good if held early and rubbed properly, though here’s what to demeanour for:

Symptoms of Tick-Borne Illness

According to a CDC, probable symptoms of a tick-borne illness are:

  • a relapsing fever and chills (flu-like symptoms)
  • achy joints or flesh aches
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • a vast round unreasonable that looks like a bulls-eye around a punch site (called erythema migrans)

The bullseye unreasonable doesn’t always occur, so it is critical to check for other symptoms. For a finish list of symptoms, see the CDC’s website. Dr. Jay Davidson adds that a bruise sternum (the bone over a breast) might be another pointer of constrictive Lyme.

If we think tick-related illness, deliberate with a alloy right divided as early involvement might help. Dr. Davidson recommends holding Ledum palustre, a homeopathic remedy, as an choice to antibiotics.

Tick Prevention Is a Best Cure (for Now)

The options for battling ticks aren’t ideal (especially if we cite to equivocate chemicals, as we do), and we can usually wish we have some-more options for determining a Lyme conflict on a horizon. Until then, here are some of a stairs we can take currently to let a kids go adventuring though worry:

1. Tick-Proof Your Yard

It’s substantially no warn that we don’t suggest a veteran chemical sprays for a yard, even in a name of shortening ticks. While many companies surveillance this as “safe,” if it kills ticks, it substantially isn’t good for your pets or kids, let alone a sourroundings and other submissive bugs in your yard.

There are utterly a few judicious (and natural) stairs to daunt ticks:

  • Keep a weed short. Since ticks like dense, high weed (all a improved to see you, my dear…), mowing mostly and gripping weed brief is half a battle.
  • Prune unenlightened landscaping. Ticks preference damp shadowy areas, so let as many healthy object as probable in by thinning disproportionate areas of a yard.
  • Mulch with cedar chips. Studies uncover ticks and cedar oil don’t mix. Since ticks yield and don’t fly, try mulching a fringe of your yard with cedar chips or between your yard and high weed to daunt them from crossing.
  • Get backyard chickens! Besides providing uninformed eggs, they eat ticks!

2. Use Natural Bug Repellent

Although a EWG (Environmental Working Group) concludes DEET is a pretty protected choice during reduce concentrations, it’s not endorsed for profound lady or children underneath 6 months. There are also copiousness of studies that indicate to probable side effects from regulating DEET and other repellents like permethrin, including dizziness, headaches, and even seizures.

While we positively take ticks and a hazard of Lyme illness seriously, we preference regulating healthy bug repellents generally given studies uncover essential oils like citronella can be usually as effective as DEET. My healthy bug mist recipe uses several essential oils shown in studies to repel ticks: geranium, citronella, and lemon eucalyptus.

Natural bug repellent is generally useful (and proven effective) for repulsion those small sprite ticks we can’t see in a parasite check.

3. Check for Ticks Daily

I know, it’s not fun, though with a small use it becomes habit. Put a full-length counterpart in a bathroom, and/or learn kids how to check themselves and any other. This is a many extensive list I’ve found for how to control a finish parasite check.

I know it’s not easy to get kids to stop what they’re doing and lay still, so we build it into a slight before lunch, dinner, and bedtime along with a rinse hands/brush teeth step. This site has a giveaway activity e-book for training unequivocally immature kids how to check for ticks.

4. Practice Good Hiking Hygiene

Ticks adore wooded areas or grassy areas, though we exclude to let ticks spoil a adore for hiking, camping, and usually being outdoor in a summer.

Be intelligent when hiking and follow these tips for avoiding ticks:

  • Wear light-colored wardrobe (so ticks are some-more visible), with pants tucked into socks.
  • Stay on a trails to equivocate tick-infested areas.
  • Do a parasite check before removing in a automobile after a hike, or use a gummy lint drum on garments to locate smaller ticks.
  • Remove hiking garments and put them immediately in a dryer for 10 mins on high feverishness to kill ticks.
  • Bathe or showering as shortly as probable after hiking.

It creates for a bizarre family activity, though we keep robes in a mudroom so we can frame off after hiking, chuck all in a dryer, and control right for a showers.

5. Protect Pets

Pets are also receptive to tick-borne diseases and it can mostly be some-more formidable to locate a parasite since of all that fur. Check dogs and cats entirely before they come into a residence and mislay any ticks. You can also try requesting a few drops of geranium essential oil around a dog’s collar, though don’t use this process (or any essential oils) on cats.

This essay was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical recommendation and we suggest that we speak with your doctor.

Have we ever had a parasite bite? What did we do? Do we have other ideas to forestall them?

Additional Reading:

  • CDC, Tickborne Diseases of a United States
  • Dr. Jay Davidson, Tick and Lyme Prevention


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