Wait! Don’t Flick That Tick!
Thanks to the warmer weather, families all across Maine have woken up from their hibernation and are now getting back out into nature. Unfortunately, the warmer weather also brings all kinds of creepy crawlies out too. If you have lived in Maine for any length of time, you are well aware of our “little” tick problem. But there are ways to protect you and your loved ones.
Take the following steps to avoid tick bites and transmission of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illness:
- Wear repellent on your bare skin or wear clothes that have repellent built-in.
- Make sure that the repellent you’re using contains 20% or more of the active ingredient (like DEET).
- Help younger kids apply repellent and keep it away from eyes, mouth and hands.
- Check for ticks at the end of each day.
- Take a shower too! It will help wash off the ticks you can’t see.
- Change clothes. Don’t put on your old clothes that might have ticks still crawling on them.
- Avoid taking short cuts through thick brush and grass.
If you do find a tick, and it seems to be burrowed in, here are the steps to safely remove the tick:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
If you suspect that a tick has been burrowed in for more than 24 hours or if you have concerns please call or visit us at AFC Urgent Care in South Portland.