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  • Writer's pictureNoel McCarthy

What to Do When You Find a Tick

Updated: May 25, 2022

If you find the tick on yourself or on your child, you should remove it immediately. It’s not the sort of thing you ignore, in the hope that the bug will detach itself in due course. And there are step-by-step guidelines you really need to follow if you want to avoid being infected with the many known tick diseases (more about that later).

tick in hand

How to Get Rid of Ticks

According to one of our most reliable sources ̶ the CDC ̶ should you find a tick fastened on to your skin, don’t panic. The trick here is to remove the offending tick as soon as possible.

Here are the seven steps to safely remove a tick from your skin. They are, in order:

  1. Put on rubber gloves.

  2. Use small tweezers to grip the tick as close to the subject’s skin’s as possible.

  3. Pull up with even pressure and detach the tick, carefully. Do not jerk of twist the tick since this may cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin.

  4. Disinfect the bite site, then clean your hands with alcohol or soap and water.

  5. Send the tick for testing, if possible. Assuming that you still have the offending tick, having it tested will quickly determine which infection you may be dealing with. This, in turn, will help your physician to follow the appropriate treatment protocol(s).

Here are a few of top testing labs:

More Tick-Related Tips

  1. If you think that you’ve been bitten by a deer tick ̶ the single, most common cause of Lyme disease ̶ you should have your physician prescribe an antibiotic to help prevent long-term affects from Lyme disease. 

  2. If you find a "bullseye" shaped rash on your skin, it’s a clear sign that you’ve developed the disease. However, you may have Lyme even if you never see a bullseye rash.

  3. If you develop a fever, a headache, experience nausea and vomiting, or acquire a rash within three or four weeks after you’ve been bitten, then you should definitely see your doctor.

  4. If you are in an area with a lot of ticks and develop symptoms of Lyme (high fever, nausea, rash), you should see a doctor even if you never found a tick on your body! A tick may have bitten you and then fallen off before you noticed.

Getting Rid of Ticks from Your Home

Ticks, like so many other bugs, will inevitably find their way into your house ̶ through damaged screens, under ill-fitting doors and, of course, on your pet’s fur. Dog or cat, they don’t mind.

But they can be eradicated, if you take the right steps. These include:

  1. Getting rid of all that clutter in the house. You know, the ‘stuff’ you’ve been hanging on to because it might ‘come in handy one day’. Well, that day is never going to come, so time to get contractor bags and get rid of it.

  2. Washing dirty laundry. Use the hottest water you can fabric permitting, then run them through a very hot dryer. This should eliminate any unwanted ‘guests’.

  3. Cleaning your entire house ̶ from attic to basement! And I mean your entire house. Omit one part and you could well find yourself playing host to those ticks again. Hint: Make sure you remove the vacuum bag immediately and put it in the trash outside.

  4. Treating your home with a safe, reliable pesticide. We suggest that you use Sterifab®. It’s not only one of the most effective pesticides on the market, but is the only US EPA-approved product that is simultaneously a viricide, bactericide, sanitizer, insecticide, deodorant, and fungistatic.

Learn more facts about ticks.

Why Ticks Are a Problem

Ticks are actually ectoparasitic arthropods, which is to say that they’re very small creatures which survive by ingesting the blood of their host. According to Stephen K. Wikel, professor emeritus at Quinnipiac University,

“Ectoparasitic insects . . . are often thought of as crawling or flying hypodermic

needles and syringes that merely suck blood and inject disease-causing agents.

However, the relationships between ectoparasitic arthropods and their hosts

are far more complex. The saliva of blood-feeding arthropods contains a

complex array of . . . active molecules that help them evade host . . . defenses3."

Back in 2017, the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) Control registered more than 59,000 cases of tick-borne diseases in the US. And that’s just the ones we know about! As a matter of fact, the CDC has some 16 diseases on its US ‘watchlist’, including:

  • Anaplasmosis - Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. Doxycycline is the drug of choice for adults and children.

  • Babesiosis - Although many people infected with Babesia do not have symptoms, for those who do effective treatment is available.

  • Borrelia Mayonii - Causes fever, headache, rash, and neck pain, and can trigger arthritis after a few weeks. It can also cause nausea and vomiting, and widespread rashes.

  • Borrelia miyamotoi - Sometimes called hard tick relapsing fever, it can cause fever, chills, fatigue, severe headache, and arthralgia/myalgia.

  • Bourbon Virus - Symptoms include fever, tiredness, rash, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Victims also have low white blood cell counts.

  • Colorado Tick Fever - Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, body aches, and tiredness. Some patients have sore throat, vomiting, abdominal pain, or skin rash. N.B. Nomedications for CTF are available.

  • Ehrlichiosis -Symptoms usually begin within 1-2 weeks after the tick bite and include fever, headache, muscle aches nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and confusion.

  • Heartland Virus - Most patients have fever, fatigue decreased appetite, headache, nausea, and muscle or joint pain. There are no vaccines or medications to treat HV.

  • Lyme Disease - Usually displays at the bite site as a target or “bull’s-eye”, and, untreated, can cause fever, chills, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.

  • Powassan Disease - People rarely have symptoms, but PV can cause severe disease, including encephalitis and meningitis. One out of ten people with severe disease die.

  • Rickettsia Parkeri Rickettsiosis - Closely related to Rocky Mountain spotted fever, RPR causes fever, headache, rash and muscle aches. It can be difficult to distinguish from RMSF.

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) - RMSF causes vomiting, fever around 102 or 103°F, headache, abdominal pain, rash, and muscle aches. It can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

  • Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI) - While the cause of STARI remains unknown, it nevertheless causes fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle pains. But it is treatable with doxycycline.

  • Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) - TBRF is a rare infection linked to sleeping in rustic cabins. The main symptoms are high fever (e.g., 103° F), headache, muscle and joint aches.

  • Tularemia - Tularemia is an infectious disease that attacks the skin, eyes, lymph nodes and lungs. Highly contagious and potentially fatal, it can be treated with antibiotics.

  • 364D Rickettsiosis - Symptoms include fever, malaise, and eschar ̶ dark, dead skin tissue that ultimately falls off. Little is known about 364D, but it responds to doxycycline.

Bottom line: Ticks are pests which should be avoided if at all possible!

Learn more about how to get rid of ticks.


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