Dealing with ticks has to be done in the correct way. If you find a tick attached to your body, it’s important to know the right procedure for removing it. If you don’t, you panic, and you proceed to remove it without following best procedure, you can increase your chances of ending up with a nasty infection, such as Lyme disease.
What are ticks?
The first thing when dealing with ticks is to understand what they are. Ticks are tiny spider-like insects that can easily attach themselves to exposed parts of your body when you go out walking in the countryside. You can pick up one or more of these unwelcome parasites when you’re out rambling, when you’re playing golf, when you’re camping, and even when you’re doing a bit of gardening.
Ticks come in various types, the most notorious of which (because they can carry Lyme disease among a number of other unpleasant infections) are Sheep Ticks. Ticks of all types are found all over the UK with increasing regularity, from Exmoor to the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks do not have teeth, but that does not stop them from embedding their tiny little heads under your skin, where they remain and suck your blood. They can remain in position for up to 72 hours and as they draw blood they can transfer unwanted bacteria, parasites, viruses and poison into your bloodstream.
Dealing with ticks – the dangers of incorrect removal
Ticks are quite tiny – about the size of a poppy seed, so they can easily go unnoticed. The longer they are allowed to remain in position, the greater the danger of being infected with something like What is lyme disease?. But when dealing with ticks, if you remove them incorrectly, squeezing the body and maybe leaving the head embedded beneath your skin, germs and bacteria that could cause infection will be injected into your bloodstream.
The correct way to remove a tick
Early tick removal minimises the chance of being infected with Lyme disease; in fact it takes up to 24 hours for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease to be triggered and transferred. But tick removal is not easy because once the tick is in position, it secretes a substance that in effect concretes it in place. It is only once it has drunk its fill of your blood that it then secretes another substance to release itself.
The correct of dealing with ticks is to remove them with a pair of fine, pointed end tweezers. Position the tweezers touching your skin and at 90 degrees to it and the tick. Gently grasp the part of the tick’s head you can see and pull the tick out with a steady, upward motion. Do not twist or turn the tweezers during extraction as this could severe the tick’s body from the embedded head. Once you have successfully removed the tick, disinfect the area.
When to see your GP or Broadgate GP Clinic London Wall
If you are unlucky enough to develop Lyme disease (early symptoms are a red, ring shaped rash and flu-like symptoms) you must see your GP or, if you live and/or work in London, you can pop in to Broadgate GP Clinic London Wall for a diagnosis, and if necessary, treatment. For more information about the symptoms of Lyme disease, check out the dedicated page here on this website.