Digital Exclusive: What you should do if you find a tick

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — With summer in full swing, there are pests to look out for, including ticks. Here is some information to help you defend against them this summer. 

Vijaya Subramanian, MD from MercyOne’s Singing Hills Family Practice told KCAU 9 not to panic if you find a tick on you. 

If you find a tick on you, stay calm and quickly and safely remove the tick. You do not have to see a doctor to have a tick removed. All you need is fine tip tweezers. If you don’t have tweezers, you can use your fingers but be sure to wrap them in a cloth or some paper towels, you do not want to use your bare fingers. 

To remove a tick, you want to pull upwards with steady force. You can then discard tick by killing it or letting it go out in the wild.

Removing a tick is simple, but make sure you do NOT crush, squeeze, or jerk the tick. Doing this could cause the head of the tick to break off the body and get stuck in your skin. If this happens, contact your doctor immediately.

You should always check yourself after spending time outdoors in the summer. Ticks can hide in places from your backyard to forested areas and parks. You can help prevent getting ticks by using EPA approved insect repellents. For pets, you can use topical creams, specific types of treats, collars made to keep bugs off your pets, and even medication provided by a vet.

Places you should always check for ticks include:

  • In and around your hair/hairline
  • Under your arms
  • Behind your ears
  • Around your waistline
  • Between your legs
  • Behind your knees,
  • Around your ankles/ sock line.

Ticks are insects that can be avoided, but if you are unlucky and end up with a tick make sure to remove it as soon as you find it. After removing a tick from your skin be sure to wash the area with soap and warm water, or rubbing alcohol. 

Telling your doctor you had a tick isn’t necessary unless you notice the following signs:

  • Rash(es) around the area
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Pains (joint and/ or muscle aches)
  • Bulls-eye forming around the area the tick was in your skin.

These things are usually noticeable after the removal of a tick. Upon telling your doctor if you have any of the above signs/ symptoms your doctor will also want to know

  1. How long the tick was in your skin for
  2. If the tick was an adult or nymphal (baby)
  3. If the tick was engorged (was the tick full of blood)

Telling your doctor these things will help them provide the proper care for you. It will also help them know what type of treatment you may need depending on the severity of your signs/ symptoms. 

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