Multiple reports are circulating about this year being a bad tick season, especially in Central New York. Indeed, we have already seen quite a few people in our urgent care presenting with tick bites or to have ticks removed. In order to help you have a fun and healthy summer, keep reading for some tips on how to prevent a tick bite and what to do if you are bitten by a tick.
As always, prevention is best. Avoiding areas of high grass and leaf litter and staying to the center of trails when hiking will help reduce the likelihood of picking up a tick. When in such high-risk areas, wear long sleeves, pants, and high socks, and place bands at sleeve and pant cuffs to prevent ticks from getting to bare skin. You might also consider treating your hiking clothes with a solution containing permethrin. Using insect repellent is vital as well. You can go HERE to use the EPA’s online selection tool to pick the right insect repellent for you.
After outdoor activities, check yourself from head to toe for any ticks crawling around or attached to you. Check clothing, gear and pets for ticks. Clothing should be washed in hot water and tumble dried on high heat to kill ticks.
What if you find a tick on you? If it is a crawler and has not yet attached itself, carefully pick it up with tweezers or tissue paper and seal it in a container, wrap it in a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet. Never use bare fingers to pick up or crush a tick.
If a tick is already embedded, use some fine-tipped tweezers to grab it as close to your skin as possible (you want to get all of the head and body out). Pull with gentle steady pressure until it is removed. If some mouth-parts remain embedded in the skin, do your best to remove them without doing too much damage to your own skin. According to the CDC, if you can’t get all the mouth-parts out, leave the area alone to heal. The most important thing to reduce transmission of Lyme is to make sure the head and body are removed.
Of course, if the tick is in a hard to reach place or refuses to let go, the physicians at Immediate Care West are here to help! Prevention is the best medicine but we are happy to take care of you when summertime bites, cuts, bruises and sprains pop up.