How to deal with a tick bite

    Ticks cannot jump or fly and do not drop from above onto a passing animal. Potential hosts (which include all wild birds and mammals, domestic animals, and humans) acquire ticks only by direct contact with them. Once a tick latches onto human skin it generally climbs upward until it reaches a protected or creased area, often the back of the knee, groin, navel, armpit, ears, or nape of the neck. It then begins the process of inserting its mouthparts into the skin until it reaches the blood supply.

     If you DO find a tick attached to your skin, there is no need to panic. Not all ticks are infected, and studies of infected deer ticks have shown that they begin transmitting their disease an average of 36 to 48 hours after attachment. Therefore, your chances of contracting a tick-borne illness are greatly reduced if you remove a tick within the first 24 hours. Remember, too, that the majority of early tick-borne disease cases are easily treated and cured if caught right away.

    If you find a tick attached to you, these are the steps you should take: 1.) When removing a tick from your body, it is important to do so carefully so as not to leave the head or to cause the tick to regurgitate back into your body. The best method is to use tweezers* and to press down on either side of its head, close and pull. 2.) Place the tick between two pieces of scotch tape so that it can be contained but still handled and seen. 3.) Clean the bite area with disinfectant. 4.) Finally, take the tick with you to the doctor so he can check for engorgement and note which type of tick it is. This will allow the doctor to know how and whether to treat you with the correct antibiotics. It is best to get to a doctor within 48 hours of a tick bite for the pretreatment to be effective.
   Then, monitor the site of the bite for the appearance of a rash beginning 3 to 30 days after the bite. At the same time, learn about the other early symptoms of Lyme disease and watch to see if they appear in about the same timeframe. If a rash or other early symptoms develop, see a physician immediately.
   If you do not actually find a tick attached to your body but develop a rash, then you should also go to the doctor to check it out. Not everyone develops a rash, but if you do the rash may be circular around the actual bite, or it might not be circular or at the point of a bite. Moreover, if you suddenly have flu like symptoms or just feel simply weary for no reason, you may have a tick borne disease. Go see your doctor.
   Some doctors who are not well-versed in tick borne diseases may not be able to diagnose some of the tick-borne diseases so make sure you go to a doctor that has experience and knowledge with tick-borne illnesses.

*Keep in mind that certain types of fine-pointed tweezers, especially those that are etched, or rasped, at the tips, may not be effective in removing nymphal deer ticks. Choose unrasped fine-pointed tweezers whose tips align tightly when pressed firmly together.