Ticks are small, round insects that can wreak havoc in the lives of humans and pets. The color of male ticks is dark brown to black, and female ticks-orange or reddish brown. Ticks live in forests and woods that generally house deer and mice. These tiny parasites attach themselves to the host and gorge on their blood. The trouble with ticks is that their bite doesn’t hurt and often it is days before the victim feels it. So, if you fail to inspect yourselves or your children after a walk or a hike on grassy trails, you will never realize either that a tick has attached itself to you or that it has bitten you. There are several species of ticks out there, and to most untrained eyes they all look alike. While the good news is that majority of these species do not carry pathogens, some of them do carry bacteria that could cause diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Tularemia, Babesiosis and Tick-borne meningoencephalitis. Some of these diseases are deadly and therefore tick bite emergency first aid is in order.
Even if you have studied ticks before, what with the plethora of species discovered and undiscovered yet, it is still hard to decide whether or not the specific tick that has latched on to your person is benign or disease transmitting. Tick bite emergency first aid is an incredibly straightforward way of ensuring that you and your loved ones remain safe. It can be done in a few simple steps discussed below:
Tick bite emergency first aid
- As soon as you are back from the woods, picnic, walk, or hike- in or along an area that could be infested with ticks, inspect your body and clothes. If you spot a tick on your body, remove it with a pair of tweezers and clean up the area with alcohol swabs.
- When you remove the tick, try not to crush the tick with the tweezers. If you accidentally crush a tick, the infected tick blood might come in contact with your own and accelerate the rate of infection. Call your doctor and schedule a visit in view of the tick bite emergency.
- After removing the tick, inspect the critter to see it is intact. If it isn’t, check your skin for fangs and get rid of them too carefully like you would a wood splinter.
- Wash your hands with soap and water, and clean the affected area too.
- Preserve the tick and show it to your doctor.
- Watch for symptoms. Symptoms of diseases transmitted by tick show up as early as 24 hours and as late as after a couple of weeks.
- Most diseases caused by tick bites can be cured with early treatment using antibiotics. One thing about antibiotics is that they only work after the symptoms show up. So, wait for the symptoms to appear to get the correct prescription.
- With ticks being so tiny and so prolific in their natural habitat, it is hard to prevent a tick bite if you frequent such areas or spend a lot of time over there occasionally. Your best bet is first aid for tick bite emergency. If you suspect a bite, have it seen by a health care professional.
- Once you have removed all ticks from your body, either bagged or gotten rid of them and cleaned yourself up, turn your attention to your clothes. Wash and dry them at high temperature in a drier. This ensures that all ticks clinging to your clothes are killed.
Symptoms of Tick bites
- Inflammation like that of a mosquito bite.
- Itching, rashes and associated redness. Bull’s eye or target like rash is also common.
- Pain in the joints
- Fever and other symptoms of influenza
- Swollen lymph nodes
Symptoms that warrant emergency measures
- Acute headaches
- Pain in the chest and palpitation
- Hard or heavy breathing
- Signs of paralysis
The important thing to remember about tick bite emergency first aid is to not crush the tick when removing it off your skin. Bag and label the tick, with date and time, to be able to show it to the doctor if the necessity arises. Any ticks that hang on to your clothes will die after a high temperature dryer run or ironing. Some preventive measures like special clothes, sprays and avoiding sitting down in the woods will prevent most tick bites. Stay safe from ticks and take quick measures if you are bitten.