Nobody likes to find a tick on themselves or someone close to them. Not only are they difficult to remove, but can carry diseases that can be transmitted to people. The best way to avoid a tick-born disease is to avoid ticks all together.
Ticks are more active in the spring and summer and are found in wooded and high-foliage areas. Avoid these areas and walk in the center of trails if hiking. However, if you’re cleaning out brush from your yard or planning a family camping trip, be proactive about preventing ticks.
Not everyone who is bitten by a tick will become ill, but there are symptoms you should be aware of. Many tick-borne illnesses can have similar symptoms. If you have been bitten by a tick and develop the symptoms below within a few weeks, see your doctor for evaluation. The illness you may develop will also vary based on the tick and the geographic region where you contracted it.
Tick-borne illnesses can result in fairly mild symptoms that require little treatment, but can cause severe infections. See your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and experience these symptoms.
If you have a tick, removal must be your focus as soon as possible. While covering the tick in petrolatum, or burning the tick to make it let go may work, the best way is to grasp it as close to the skin as possible with tweezers and lift slowly straight up.
Gregory Sweat, MD, is the Medical Director of the Shawnee Mission Physicians Group and practices Family Medicine at Shawnee Mission Primary Care - Prairie View Medical Building.
Many factors can affect the health of your family. Click here for simple tips from Gregory Sweat, MD on how to keep your family well.