Ticks and Disease:
Being prepared can actually help reduce your risk of contracting a disease. (information from the CDC: Center for Disease Control)
It’s no secret that 2017 is a banner year for Lyme disease. Scientists predicted the prevalence of the disease would jump this summer, and many parents can attest to that scary increase too. Almost every day a new video or post goes viral after yet another child falls ill to tick-borne diseases like Lyme or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
“Ticks carry all sorts of diseases,” entomologist Dr. Neeta Connally recently said; “Those are actually salivated into the body when the tick attaches, and so we don’t want to agitate the tick in any way that is going to make it salivate more and thereby be more likely to transmit anything.”
The Centers for Disease Control discourages “folklore remedies” like nail polish, petroleum jelly, salt, peppermint oils and or heat that might lift the tick away from the skin. “Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible – not wait for it to detach,” the CDC says.
Start with tweezers. While many companies sell specialized tick removal devices, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the plain, pointy pair in your medicine cabinet will work just fine. Use the device to grasp the parasite as close to the skin as possible, then pull up with steady, even pressure. Twisting or jerking the tick can cause parts to break off, and the agitation might make the pest salivate more, potentially releasing more disease-causing bacteria into the bite wound.
Since the parasites transmit over 10 dangerous diseases to their human (and pet!) hosts, it’s important to get immediate care. Early recognition and treatment can decrease the risk of serious complications later on. if you develop a rash or fever soon afterwards, go to the doctor straight away.
After you pull off the tick, dispose of it by placing it in a sealed bag or wrapping it tightly in tape or flushing it down a toilet. To clean and sterilized the affected area, wash the bite area and your hands with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol.
As time is an essential factor in dealing with Tick bites, consider preparing your own tick kit. (you probably already own most of the supplies). Gather rubbing alcohol or an iodine scrub, sealable bags or tape and a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. Then store them all together in a pouch or container.
Consider taping any ticks you find to an index card, so, if necessary, a doctor can identify the species later. Writing down the time and date the tick was removed can also provide valuable info.
Jade Path TCM advises to be aware of your surroundings and to be prepared, but do not let worries like Tick bites prevent you from going outside and enjoying all the heathy activities summer as to offer.
Dr. Haiyan S. Hawkes