If you and your family spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s important to protect yourself from tick bites. Most tick bites are harmless, but some ticks carry bacteria that cause illnesses like Lyme disease. At LoginClinics in Wake Forest, North Carolina, Jaclyn Qualter, NP, A-CTTP, and Justin Bordeaux, PA-C, have treated countless tick bites and know the signs to look for. If you’ve recently been outdoors in a heavily wooded area and notice ticks on your body, go online to book an appointment to get checked.
Ticks are very common all over the United States and can be found outdoors in:
They’re also attracted to animals and can easily move between humans and their pets, so check your four-legged friends after every outdoor activity.
If you find a tick on your body it is important to remove it as quickly as possible. Use clean tweezers to firmly hold the tick at its head or mouth, where it is attached to your skin. Pull up firmly and steadily, but don’t twist or jerk the tick because this might break off the mouth of the tick in your skin.
As soon as the tick lets go, get rid of it by putting it in alcohol, flushing it down the toilet, or putting it in a sealed bag. Never crush the tick with your fingers. Clean the area of the tick bite with soap and water and finish off by swabbing the area with a disinfectant.
When you’re pulling the tick out, parts of it can get stuck in your skin. If this happens, go online to book an immediate appointment. Do not try to burn the tick off with a hot match as this can cause the tick to spit fluids into your wound and cause a worse infection.
Although most tick bites are harmless, some ticks carry illnesses like Lyme disease that they can pass on to humans. Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed as shingles since they have similar symptoms. So if you are having a painful rash after being outdoors for an extended period of time, let your health care provider know.
Infected tick bites that result in a red, bumpy rash are often mistaken for a reaction to poison ivy. It’s important to know the difference, though, as an untreated tick bite leads to complications, while a reaction to poison ivy will clear up by itself.
If a tick bites you and passes on a disease, the symptoms to look for include:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment online immediately for a nurse to examine you.