How to Remove a Tick Safely
The very first thing to do is to properly remove the tick.
The tick must be removed as soon as possible after it is detected!
The best option is to go to the closest trauma center for this purpose. If there are no doctors available, you will have to remove the tick yourself.
A few basic rules of tick extraction:
The bream should be grasped with tweezers as close to the skin surface as possible. Do not squeeze its body, because you can inject pathogens of dangerous diseases into the bloodstream. Pull the tick slowly and carefully, do not twist it, otherwise the head may break off and remain in the skin.
Removing a tick with tweezers
To remove a tick using thread, you need to put the thread as close as possible to the trunk, tie a knot around the head of the tick and carefully without sudden movements pull the tick out.
Removing a tick with thread
Today you can simplify your task and use special devices to remove ticks, such as a pincer, lasso pen, etc. They are sold at the drugstore. Before using them, you should study the instructions for use of these devices.
Removal of a tick with special devices
Cut the top of the syringe as flat as possible. Wet the skin around the tick with water, put the syringe to the suction point and pull the piston upwards. This removes the tick under vacuum.
The tick is removed, what next?
After you have removed the tick, treat the biting area with any skin antiseptic (green, iodine, etc.). If the head of the tick comes off and looks like a black dot, wipe it with a absorbent cotton or alcohol-moistened bandage and then remove the head with a sterile needle just as you would remove a splinter.
Do not rush to get rid of the parasite. Place it in an airtight container with a piece of damp absorbent cotton.
It is advisable to test your tick for the presence of infectious agents, especially tick-borne encephalitis and ixodal tick-borreliosis. In this regard, it is necessary to deliver it as soon as possible to the laboratory.
If the results of the tests show that your tick was not infected with tick-borne infections, then you only have to treat the bite site.
If the laboratory specialists found pathogens dangerous to humans in the tick, immediately consult a doctor!
What should I do if I get a tick bite?
I was bitten by a tick: a plan of action
A tick that has been sucked on your skin is difficult to ignore. In addition to the pain and discomfort its bite causes, it is very dangerous because ticks carry dangerous diseases: viral encephalitis, Lyme disease, tularemia and others. In this article we will tell you how to extract the tick, what to do with it, how to treat the wound, what consequences to expect and what to do to prevent a bite recurrence.
Signs of a bite, what a tick looks like
Most of the time we dont feel the tick bite. It is painless because the tick secretes an anesthetic substance into the wound. Thats why usually the only signs of a bite that can be noticed are the bloodsucker itself (Fig. 1) or the area where it has embedded itself. Sometimes those bitten feel pain and difficulty breathing, and some get a rash or blisters.
After the mite has fallen off, the sucking spot bleeds slightly and gradually turns into a rounded red spot. It increases in size and is itchy. As it enlarges, the pattern changes. The center of the bite becomes bright red or bluish, with a red spot forming around it due to inflammation.
If you find the parasite, you should remove it as soon as possible and see a doctor. You should also go to the clinic if you find a suspicious wound on the skin.
What to treat the bite site
If a tick has been sucked on, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible. He will professionally remove the tick and treat the wound. However, a long search for a specialist can increase the likelihood of tick transmission of various infections. Therefore, it is often wise to remove the tick yourself as soon as it is found.
The first thing to do is to treat the bite site with any antiseptic you have on hand. Then use tweezers or strong thread to grab the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. This is necessary to pull out the whole tick together with its mouthpiece. It is necessary to extract the tick with uniform moderate effort strictly vertically, without abrupt movements and twisting. After removing the tick, re-treat the bite mark with antiseptic.
Try not to damage the tick while taking it out of the body. If you do find fragments of the mite in the wound, dont be alarmed. After a while the remains of the arthropod will come out of your skin on their own.
If you dont have tweezers, you can try pulling the tick out with your fingers, but its best not to crush it with your bare hands. To protect your skin, use a bandage or rubber gloves. You can wrap it in gauze beforehand. After the tick is removed, remember to wash your hands with soap and water and rub it with alcohol.
Unfortunately, if you have not been vaccinated, you cannot prevent the disease after being bitten. As prevention of borreliosis, if the tick has been bled and is suspected to have been on the body for at least 24 hours, doctors advise adults and children over the age of 8 to take 4.4 mg/kg, but no more than 200 mg of doxycycline.
What tests should I take?
No test immediately after a bite can detect a tick-borne infection. DNA or RNA of the pathogen can be detected only after 10 days, and antibodies to pathogens begin to be produced in the body 10-14 days after the bite.
You should see a doctor and have a blood test if:
the bite occurred in an area where tick-borne infections are common,
The examination of the tick confirmed that it was contagious,
a person is found to have symptoms of a disease transmitted through tick bites.
What infections can I catch from a tick?
A tick bite can cause infection:
- tick-borne encephalitis,
- tick-borne borreliosis (Lyme disease),
- monocytic ehrlichiosis,
- tick-borne typhus,
- Q fever,
- spotted fever,
- hemorrhagic fevers, etc.
The main alarming symptoms characteristic of tick-borne infections include:
- drowsiness and weakness,
- increase in temperature,
- joint and muscle pain.
Tick-borne encephalitis is characterized by fear of light and muscle weakness, while borreliosis is characterized by tightness in the muscles of the neck, facial paralysis, joint and lymph node inflammation. Another obvious symptom of Lyme disease is erythema migrans. This is a red spot at the site of the tick bite, diverging in a ring on the skin.
In tularemia and ehrlichiosis, digestive disorders (nausea, vomiting) are common, and babesiosis and Q fever may be accompanied by a dry cough.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you notice any suspicious symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. At present, post-exposure prophylaxis is only proven effective for borreliosis (single dose doxycycline), but timely treatment helps to avoid many complications.
What happens if you dont see a doctor: Complications
Ignoring the symptoms can lead to unfortunate consequences, up to and including death. In Table 1 we have listed the main complications associated with tick-borne diseases.
If you notice any of the symptoms listed in the table, you should immediately consult a doctor. At present, post-exposure prophylaxis is only proven effective for borreliosis (single dose doxycycline), but timely treatment helps to avoid many complications.
Treatment always depends on what kind of disease the bitten person has, and how long it had progressed before the person went to the doctor and was diagnosed.
How are tick-borne diseases treated?
Once the diagnosis is made, the treatment is prescribed by the doctor. If there are no severe symptoms, medication is taken at home, but if the disease is severe, the patient is sent to a hospital.
Most tick-borne infections can be cured with antibiotics, the exception being encephalitis, the most severe disease a tick can transmit. Targeted therapy against tick-borne viral encephalitis does not yet exist. Among the supporting drugs are used: drugs containing interferon and interferon inducers, drugs to remove toxins from the body, antipyretic drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs.
Are they completely curable?
Tick-borne diseases can be cured, but some effects, such as permanent paralysis or hearing loss caused by encephalitis, are irreversible. Muscle pain and arthritis after borreliosis may persist for a long time after treatment.
How long does the treatment take?
Antibiotic therapy aimed at eliminating the infection lasts about 7-14 days. The course of treatment for tick-borne encephalitis is usually 3-5 weeks. After discharge, those who have had encephalitis should be examined at intervals of 3-6 months for 1-3 years.
Prevention of tick-borne diseases is reduced to avoiding bites, in rare cases vaccination can help protect yourself.
How do I keep ticks from biting me?
Going into nature during the tick season, the following preventive measures are necessary:
- Use clothing with long sleeves and pants, covering as much of the body area as possible, it is better if the clothes will be light-colored,
- Wear hats,
- thoroughly inspect your body and clothes after a walk, comb out your hair with a fine comb,
- also examine pets if they are walking outside (dogs often bring ticks into the house on their fur),
- Use repellent before walking in the woods,
- do not pull down branches and try not to hit them, so beware of tall grass and bushes, stay in the middle of the trail.
- Effectiveness of vaccination, is it worth doing?
- You can protect yourself from tick-borne encephalitis and tularemia by getting vaccinated.