Dealing with Ticks – Prevention & Removal – Travel Health Advice
If you are going to be spending any time outdoors during the Spring and Summer, it is important to learn to protect you and your family from diseases that can be caused by ticks, including: (depending on the region of the world)
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Southern tick-associated rash illness
- Tick-borne relapsing fever
- Tick-borne Encephalitis
- Colorado tick fever
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are in trying to protect yourself from tick bites, you may occasionally find a tick and you will need to remove it.
Preventing Tick Bites
You can try to protect yourself from tick bites by avoiding ticks when outdoors by sticking to trails, not sitting on the ground, and not walking in grassy, brushy, or heavily wooded areas. Wearing protective clothing, including light coloured clothing (so you can see ticks crawling on you) and pants that you can easily tuck into their socks, and by using an insect repellent with DEET (30% to 50%) on your skin (ankles and knees).
Daily Tick Check
Just as importantly, you should check for ticks after you have been outdoors in areas that are possibly infected with ticks. Be sure to check your ankles, behind your knees, your groin region, hair line, axilla and around your waistline. Don’t forget to check other spots where a tick might go unnoticed, such as between the legs, in the ears and also inside their belly button. A daily tick check is especially important if you are on an extended camping trip and you might not be able to take a bath or shower each day.
Removing a Tick
Once you find a tick, it is important to know how to remove it. The longer the tick stays attached, especially if it is longer than 48 hours, the more likely that you are going to get ill with something like Lyme disease etc.
To get ready to remove the tick, you should have: a fine tweezers, gloves or a tissue so that you can avoid touching the tick, a small jar where you can put the tick (this makes identification easier in case you later get sick) and an antiseptic to clean the area of the tick bite and your hands after you remove it.
Be sure to avoid making any jerking or twisting movements as you pull it out, or you may cause the tick’s head to break off. If you do notice that any part of the tick has remained embedded, be sure to obtain medical help to get it out. As you pull the tick out, you should also avoid squeezing the tick.
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