It’s tick season, beware of Lyme disease

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By Richard Bartz [CC BY-SA 2.5], from Wikimedia Commons

You were asked to stay at home for a long time, then told it was time to get outside and get some exercise. You’re being warned that you could pick up ticks, whether you’re outside in the country or the city, and that you need to get them off of your body.

If you find a tick, you should grab a pair of sterilized, fine-tipped tweezers, says Hoosier nurse practitioner Shannon Cook, with the Minute Clinic at CVS.

“You want to make sure those have been sterilized and cleaned. Steps two and three would be to grab the head of the tick, as opposed to the swollen abdomen with those tweezers. And, it’s really important to pull straight out and not twist,” said Cook.

She said the goal is to make sure the tick doesn’t break in half. If it does, she says to try to remove the mouthparts. If you can’t, Cook says you can leave them alone, that it will heal, or you can come into the clinic if you feel you need to.

Cook said Lyme disease is the main concern with tick bites, but it is rare. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is also a concern but is also rare.

The symptoms of Lyme disease, include a fever, but most prominently, a rash at the site of the bite.

“You would want to look to make sure you’re not getting a bullseye ring. It kind of looks like a target sign,” she said.

She said if you are concerned about Lyme disease, you can go to the doctor and be prescribed an antibiotic for prevention.

Cook said after the tick is removed, you’ll want to wash the site and clean it with alcohol, and dispose of the remains of the tick in a small plastic bag.

She said you should avoid home remedies for getting the tick off, especially burning it. She said that generally doesn’t work and may very well result in you burning yourself instead of the tick.

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