Lyme and other tick-borne diseases have become an epidemic, with more than 300,000 cases diagnosed each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Disease detection can be difficult and treatment complicated. Protect yourself this tick season (April through October) with these tips.
What to Do If You Find a Tick
If you discover a tick on you, there’s no risk if it’s still crawling around. And the chance of contracting Lyme disease is small if it’s attached for less than 24 hours. Still, the odds of contracting any tick-borne disease are minimized if it’s removed as soon as possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises using tweezers to grasp the tick close to your skin, pulling it straight out. Don’t twist the tick; it can break off and remain in your skin. Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
Dispose of a tick in alcohol, wrapping it in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Or, if you plan on seeing a doctor, put it in a plastic bag and bring it with you to be tested for Lyme.
Watch for signs of illness, such as rash or fever, in the days after the bite. See a healthcare provider if these develop.