Tick bites! Yuck! That is all I have to say. Yesterday, I found a tick with its creepy little head embedded in my tummy.
Tick Bites Really Scare Me!
Let’s just say….I do not handle spiders, beetles or tick bites well. Of course, I found the tick when I was getting ready for bed and reacted without thinking. As I began flapping my arms irrationally and screaming for my husband….patience was not on the agenda. I darted out of the bedroom “topless” to track him down. Although his response was quick, I had already managed to run down our main hallway which leads directly to our front entrance. Having no A/C and with the temperature hovering around 85 degrees in our house, of course, the front door was open and the only think between my topless body and my neighbours was our vintage screen door. Yikes! I sure hope no one was out and about during that display of craziness!
Clearly this is not me, but I can totally relate to the panic this guy was feeling and can only imagine how stupid I would have looked if it my tick bite was captured on video. This is really funny, check it out.
I remember getting tick bites as a kid and having my mom remove them without incident, but that was long before Lyme Disease became of concern or so it would seem. My anxiety over ticks traces back to my cousin. She was bitten several years ago and has been fighting symptoms of lyme disease ever since.
Ticks and Tick Bites: Did you know?
I have heard and read lots of suggestions on tick removal because I have kids and always wanted to be prepared. Unfortunately, some of those suggestions came from social media and/or via word of mouth. In the midst of my dilemma last night, I told my hubby that we were supposed to smother the little stinker in petroleum jelly (WRONG) which we proceeded to do, before burning the little sucker with a the end of a hot needle (WRONG AGAIN). Yikes! In an article put out by Health Links BC, it describe in detail what to do and what not to do when dealing with tick bites.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove a tick. If you don’t have tweezers, put on gloves or cover your hands with tissue paper, then use your fingers. Do not handle the tick with bare hands.
- Grab the tick as close to its mouth (the part that is stuck in your skin) as you can. The body of the tick will be above your skin.
- Do not grab the tick around its swollen belly. You could push infected fluid from the tick into your body if you squeeze it.
- Gently pull the tick straight out until its mouth lets go of your skin. Do not twist the tick. This may break off the tick’s body and leave the head in your skin.
- Put the tick in a dry jar or ziplock bag and save it in the freezer for later identification if needed.
The article suggest that you not smother or burn the tick when dealing with tick bites. Go figure? Evidently when you do either of these two things, it can cause the tick to release infected fluid into your body and increase your chances of becoming infected.
Tick Bites and Lyme Disease
I was surprised to learn that a tick can only transfer lyme disease if it has had time to have a blood meal and is engorged. (The one on me was flat and couldn’t have been there more than a couple of hours. Yay!!)
Even if a tick is attached, it must have taken a blood meal to transmit Lyme disease. At least 36 to 48 hours of feeding is required for a tick to have fed and then transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. After this amount of time, the tick will be engorged (full of blood). An engorged tick has a globular shape and is larger than an unengorged one.
What is Lyme Disease?
In the early stages of Lyme disease, you may experience flu-like symptoms that can include a stiff neck, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fatigue,muscle aches, and joint pain. You also may experience a large, expanding skin rash around the area of the tick bite. In more advanced disease, nerve problems and arthritis, especially in the knees, may occur.
I would suggest seeing a doctor if you suspect that the tick has been on you or your child long enough to have a blood feed and/or if you notice any symptoms.