Are tick bites dangerous?

Your 24/7 Nurse Many of us spend more time outside on these longer, warm days, but that often brings with it an unwelcome guest. You need to be aware of ticks if you spend any time outdoors or if you have pets that go outside.

Ticks are small spiderlike animals that bite to fasten themselves onto the skin and feed on blood. If you find a tick on you or your child, you need to know the proper way to remove it. Also, you can look for certain signs to determine if the tick transmitted a disease.

brown dog tickWood or dog ticks are most common. They are brown or black, some with a white spot. They can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The tick has a greater chance of transmitting disease the longer it is attached.

To remove, saturate a cotton ball or small piece of paper towel with dishwashing liquid. Apply it for several minutes where the tick is attached. It may take several minutes, but most ticks will detach. If not, hold the tick with tweezers or your fingers, but do not squeeze. Be gentle but firm, and pull it straight out. Wash the area with an antibacterial soap and apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment one time.

If it is not all removed, the spot may look infected as the body pushes it out like it would a splinter. Mark your calendar with the date. See a doctor if a bull’s eye rash and flu-like symptoms or fever develop within 14 days.

Deer ticks are tiny brown ticks that are almost impossible to pick off. They transmit Lyme disease. Remove these by scraping off with a fingernail, credit card or anything with a smooth edge. Mark your calendar, and see a doctor if a rash or flu-like symptoms develop within 30 days.

Our nurses welcome your questions, and we’ll answer them here every Wednesday. Remember we can answer health questions for all ages, not just children. Just call us any time at (270) 575-2918.

About Baptist Health Paducah

Baptist Health Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,800 employees and 200 physicians, it offers a full range of services, including cardiac and cancer care, diagnostic imaging, women’s and children’s services, surgery, emergency treatment, rehabilitation and more. Since its humble beginning in 1953, Baptist Health Paducah has grown from 117 beds to 349 beds on a campus covering eight square blocks.
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