5 Commonly Asked Questions About Ticks

tick control
Image Courtesy of Fairfax County via Flickr CC by ND 2.0

Ticks can spread serious illnesses. They can make you and your family quite sick. People can get ticks when they spend time outside. They are more common in wooded areas, but they can also be found in the suburbs and in the city in parks or yards. They will feed on animals that run through the yard and they can put your family at risk.

How Do I Remove a Tick?

The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it with tweezers and to pull straight back to remove it. You do not want to twist as this may leave the head embedded in the skin. You can also use a tick key to remove the tick. You should never try to remove it by burning it, or applying gasoline, rubbing alcohol or Vaseline to it, as this may cause it to regurgitate and increase the chance of being infected.

How Do I Tell that a Tick Has Attached to Me?

Tick bites are painless, at least while the tick is attached. It is possible to have a tick attach and detach without you realizing that you have a tick. It is important to check yourself after you are in an area that has a lot of ticks. You need to check under your arms, along your hairline, in your ears, behind your knees and between your legs for ticks.

What Do I Do Once I’ve Removed the Tick?

Once you remove the tick you should put it on a cotton ball that has alcohol on it and seal it in a zipper bag. You can dispose of it this way. You should not just let it go because it can attach to someone else. You should not crush it with your hand or fingers because you may end up contracting the illness.

How Soon Will Tick Symptoms Appear?

Tick-borne illnesses can have symptoms start about three days after the bite, but they can take up to thirty days to appear. Many of the symptoms are similar with the start of a fever, and aches and pains. Some illnesses will have a rash, but the rash does not always present. The doctor can run tests to confirm the type of illnesses and determine the correct course of treatment. Most illnesses need to be treated with antibiotics or they will continue to get worse and can have serious complications that can even be fatal.

Do Ticks Detach by Themselves?

Once ticks have finished feeding, they will detach and then wander around until they are ready to feed again. This means that they may live in your home and be waiting until they are ready to feed again. If you see a tick in your home you need to take care of it right away.