Ticks and Lyme disease may not be something you want to obsess over, but it’s certainly something you should keep in mind this spring and summer, especially if you live in Massachusetts. Deer ticks, in particular, are tiny and can be very sneaky, latching onto you without you knowing it.
AFC Urgent Care Worcester is here to help explain what you need to know about deer ticks and Lyme disease, while providing tips on how to protect yourself from them.
Deer Ticks and Their Habitat
Deer ticks are typically found in wooded areas and tall grasses, and are most active during the warmer months. While many people assume that getting a tick bite is more likely to happen when hiking, it’s actually more common to get a tick latched onto you at the entrance of deep woods or when you leave a wooded area. There is a space between wooded areas and grassy plains where deer ticks love to hang out. So, if you’re out on a hike, make sure to perform a thorough tick check.
Ticks can also hide in tall grass and in the shaded areas of your backyard. If you have chairs or tables near the wooded areas of your backyard, it's best to bring them out in the sun. Additionally, make sure to keep grass cut short and wear long pants that are tucked into your shoes. The idea is to make yourself look as unattractive to ticks as possible, as the more skin you show, the more of a target you are for them to bite.
What Happens If I Get Bitten By A Deer Tick?
If you do get bitten by a deer tick, it’s important to remain calm and try to remove it with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. Ticks like warm areas, so pay attention to areas with folds of skin such as under your arms, behind your ears, behind your knees, around your groin, in your belly button, and in and around your hair.
When trying to remove the tick, it's important to follow these do's and don'ts:
- Do use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Do gently pull the tick in a steady, upward motion.
- Do wash the area with a disinfectant immediately.
- Don't touch the tick with your bare hands.
- Don't squeeze the body of the tick, as this may increase your risk of infection.
- Don't put alcohol, nail polish remover, or Vaseline on the tick.
- Don't put a hot match or cigarette on the tick in an effort to make it “back out.”
- Don't use your fingers to remove the tick.
Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease
The best way to avoid getting bitten by a deer tick and contracting Lyme disease is to be aware of their habitat and take precautions. In addition to the tips mentioned above, make sure to:
- Wear light-colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.
- Use insect repellent with DEET.
- Check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks after spending time outdoors.
- Take a shower within two hours of coming indoors.
- Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill any ticks that may be on them.
Having a Hard Time Removing A Deer Tick? Let AFC Urgent Care Worcester Do It For You!
If you're having trouble removing the tick, or if you're concerned about the risk of infection, you can visit AFC Urgent Care Worcester any day of the week with no appointment needed for tick removals and to be evaluated for tick-borne illnesses. Our staff is medically trained to remove deer ticks and can assess the tick bite as well. We highly suggest coming in within the first 24 hours so that extraction can be as quick as possible.
AFC Urgent Care Worcester is here to help. No appointment is needed but if you would like to skip the line, we also accept online appointments, along with online payments. This makes it easy for you to check in and check out!