How many ticks have you pulled off your pet, child or even yourself this summer? The Baptist Health Line phones have been busy with calls from people concerned about tick bites and prevention.
Ticks are small spiderlike animals that bite to fasten themselves onto the skin and feed on blood.
The most common are wood or dog ticks — brown or black, some with a white spot — that can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever. To remove, saturate a cotton ball or paper towel with dishwashing liquid. Apply it for several minutes until the tick detaches. If not, pull the tick straight out with tweezers or your fingers. Wash with an antibacterial soap, and apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment one time. Mark your calendar with the date. See a doctor if a bull’s eye rash and flu-like symptoms or fever develop within two to four weeks.
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.
Reduce your chances of tickborne disease by using repellants and showering after being outdoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, check these parts of the body after being outside:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
You can use products containing DEET (the active ingredient in insect repellents) on children. Make sure they wash their hands after application, so they won’t get it in their mouths or eyes. On toddlers and infants, spray a lower DEET concentration on your hands and wipe it on them. You can purchase products with a safe concentration of DEET, especially made for this age group.
Our nurses welcome your questions. Just phone us anytime at 270.575.2918.