Updated: Mar 9, 2020
Meade County Extension Office
Earlier this month, I returned from walking my dog and found a tick crawling on his back. I was surprised as I am not used to seeing ticks this early in the year. Traditionally, cold weather causes the adult tick to find a warm spot to survive or it dies. This winter’s mild temperatures have resulted in more adults surviving which will result in more eggs being laid and more ticks than normal earlier in the year. In other words, now is the time to be on the lookout for ticks and be proactive in their prevention and removal if necessary.
Ticks are external parasites who have attached to their hosts skin through their mouth to draw out blood. Since they can feed off many hosts throughout their life cycle, they can contract and spread disease.
Common places ticks attach to the human body are in or around the ears, in or around hair, under the arms, inside the belly button, around the waist, between the legs and the back of the knees.
According to the CDC, if a tick attaches it is important to remove as soon as possible. The best way is to use fine tip tweezers, get as close to the skin and ticks’ mouth as possible. Quickly pull straight up - do not tug or twist. Make sure the mouth is still attached to the tick; if not check to see if it is attached to the skin. After removing the tick, clean the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Methods such as painting the tick with nail polish, covering with baby oil or petroleum jelly or using heat only prolongs the removal. It is not as effective and causes the tick to try to hold on stronger.
Once removed, dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet or if you want to keep the tick to show your health care provider or the extension agent, put it in rubbing alcohol or place in a sealed bag/container.
Once removed, possible symptoms could occur within 30 days. If you notice a rash, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain or joint swelling and pain, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
For more information contact the extension office.
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