Three clear prohibitions: what you should never do if you are bitten by a tick

Yulia PoteriankoSociety
Traditional methods of tick removal can only harm you. Source: Created with the help of AI

With the beginning of the warm season, ticks become more active in green areas of cities and in nature. Certain species of these arthropods can transmit dangerous diseases to humans and animals, so it's best to avoid encounters with them. But what should you do if a tick bites you?

According to the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, there are a lot of myths about what a person should do if they are bitten by a tick. At the same time, folk methods can actually only do harm. Therefore, first of all, keep in mind the three main "do's":

  • do not apply pressure;
  • do not pour oil or alcohol;
  • do not pull out.

The pest can only be removed from the body using the right method. And squeezing it out as if it were a pimple, pulling it out, or trying to "drown" the tick in some liquid are not such methods. Read on to find out exactly what to do.

Where and how to pick up a tick

People and animals most often suffer from ticks in April-June and August-October. But the danger continues throughout the warm season. At this time, many bloodsuckers sit in the tall grass in parks or forests, or even on lawns. Occasionally, ticks can climb low shrubs, but they never end up on trees.

First, the pest clings to clothing, and then begins to look for an opportunity to get into the body. As long as you are actively moving, it prevents it from moving and penetrating the skin. When you stop, the tick starts crawling from the bottom up. This is a very stubborn creature that can spend hours looking for a place to suck, so you should not expect the tick to get tired and fall off by itself.

The harmful arthropod can stay on the body for up to 12 days. Most often, the unwanted guest is noticed only after 2-3 days, when swelling develops at the bite site, itching and redness appear, and the tick itself, having drunk blood, increases in size.

What to do if you find a tick on you

If possible, go to an emergency room where the pest will be removed professionally. Or try to get rid of the tick yourself, but use the right method.

Buy a special tick remover at your nearest pet store or veterinary pharmacy. It usually looks like a bent fork with two tines. Carefully slide these tines under the pest and gently move it from side to side. It is firmly attached to the skin with its proboscis, so if you simply pull the tick out, you will tear off its head, which will remain in the wound, so you should definitely not do this. Instead, loosen the body of the arthropod and start twisting it. The direction doesn't matter, just do it as you feel comfortable. Soon the tick will come out of the skin completely.

But it is not always possible to buy such a set right away, in which case the tick can be pulled out even with your fingers wrapped in a napkin for protection, or with tweezers or a thread loop. The algorithm of actions is the same here - gently loosen and pull out the bloodsucker. Do not rush and do not make jerks. The main task is to get the tick out in one piece.

If you do tear the tick's body from the head, remove it from the skin with a needle. Be sure to sterilize the needle beforehand.

In any case, after removing the tick, treat the wound with an antiseptic and wash your hands with soap and water. For the next three weeks, closely monitor your health. If your temperature rises and redness appears on the skin, which will only increase in size over time, consult a doctor for further recommendations. Don't take this lightly, because ticks carry the pathogens of tick-borne encephalitis, borreliosis (Lyme disease), and Miyamoto disease. These infections can cause very serious consequences, including disability and death.

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