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Summer is time for fun and family. Unfortunately, it is also time for ticks. There are some steps to take to avoid having ticks decide your body would make a good home. Some removal should be avoided if a tick does attach itself to your body. Additionally, there are some excellent and painless methods for removing ticks.

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How to Avoid Tick Bites

Of course, you can use an insect repellent. However, many of us do not like to use these strong chemicals on our bodies. Here are some steps you can take to avoid tick bites.

  • Wear clothing that is light colored so you can see if you have a tick on you before it attaches itself to the skin.
  • Wear protective clothing. Long pants with pant legs and socks tucked into sturdy shoes will keep ticks off the lower part of your body. Also, wear a long sleeved shirt and tuck the bottom into the waistband of your pants.
  • Stay on trails and pathways, avoiding the high vegetation ticks love.
  • Try to avoid tick-infested places; some areas are loaded with ticks. Choose another area for your adventure.

What Not to Do to Remove a Tick

You want to remove the tick as quickly and painlessly as possible. However, some tick removal methods should be avoided.

  • Do not grab the tick with your fingers to pull it out as you may either leave parts of the tick under your skin or expose yourself to any disease the tick is carrying. If you must use your fingers, use a paper towel or tissue to avoid direct contact with the tick’s body.
  • Do not use nail polish remover, gasoline, rubbing alcohol, or a lit match to remove the tick. Doing so may cause the tick to release disease or infection carrying fluid.
  • Do not twist the tick to remove it as this can break off the tick’s body and leave its head in your skin.

How to Remove a Tick

To remove a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers, grabbing the pick as close to where it is attached to your skin as possible. Pull gently, but firmly, until it releases.  Wash the area where the tick was embedded, the tweezers, and your hands with disinfectant soap. You can use a medicated bandage or antibiotic cream on the bite if you wish.

Watching for Infection

After the tick is removed, you should be fine. However, watch for the following symptoms of a skin infection in the bite area:

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Swelling, pain, or hotness
  • Draining pus

Additionally, you should consult a doctor is you have chills or fever. Some ticks carry Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, both of which require medical attention. Symptoms include joint pain, rash, headache, fever, or flu-like symptoms.

Additional Tips:

  • Make sure you examine clothing and skin whenever you or your family members have been outside to avoid having ticks in your house.
  • Ticks love to bite in those hidden areas of your body such as under your arms, between your legs, and behind your knees, so be sure to check those places.
  • Tumble clothes worn outside on high heat in your clothes dryer. Washing will not kill ticks, even if the water is hot, but a hot drying will.

Most tick bites will not make you sick, but they are always unpleasant. However, it is important to make sure you remove the tick correctly and quickly to avoid any disease or additional discomfort.

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