This year we are seeing an over abundance of deer ticks throughout the Northeast.

Why? As what happened last year, due to the huge amounts of snow we received this past winter, the ground became insulated, causing a manifestation of ticks to hatch in the warm environment. Not only are we seeing more deer ticks because of it, but we’re seeing many forms of ticks, including dog ticks as well-not as threatening as a deer tick bite, but a hazard as well.

Deer ticks, most often carried and transmitted by deer or certain small rodents, carry Lyme disease, an often debilitating bacterial infection that can cause long lasting effects for some, and is often difficult to recover from. Therefore it’s important to know what steps to take if bitten by a deer tick, or if you notice a deer tick on a friend or loved one.

What is Lyme Disease?

  • Lyme disease is a bacterial illness that is spread by tick bites. It can affect the skin, joints, heart, and the nervous system.
  • Lyme disease often occurs in phases, with the early phase beginning at the site of the tick bite with an expanding ring of redness which often mimics a bulls-eye pattern.
  • Lyme disease is diagnosed based on the patient’s symptoms as well as the detection of antibodies, in a blood test

While not all ticks carry Lyme Disease, in New England and throughout the Northeast, the deer4-steps-to-take-if-bitten-by-a-deer-tick tick, also known as the black-legged tick, is much more common than throughout the rest of the country.

 

 

 

 

Top 4 steps to take if bitten by a deer tick

Avoid being bitten by a deer tick!

Or any tick for that matter.

  • Use an insect repellent containing the ingredient Deet. For more info on children’s use of Deet see the CDC’s Insect repellent Use and Safety. There are alternatives.
  • Walk in the center of trails and avoid tall vegetation. Wear socks and pants when at all possible.
  • Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard.

Use a mirror to view all parts of your body. Take special care to check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:

  • Under the arms
  • Behind the ears
  • In the scalp
  • Inside the belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around all body hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist
  • Check your clothing and pets for ticks because ticks may be carried into the house on clothing and pets. Both should be examined carefully, and any ticks that are found should be removed. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat effectively kills ticks.
  • Keep your lawn mowed well. Ticks live in high grasses and well wooded areas

Identify the tick

Is it a Deer Tick? Size Matters:

A deer tick is much smaller than a dog tick.4-steps-to-take-if-bitten-by-a-deer-tickIf you or a family member think you’ve been bitten by a deer tick, we strongly advise that you go to a medical provider who is knowledgeable and experienced in proper removal techniques within the first 24 to 48 hours of detection. It can often be difficult to know if the entire tick has been extracted, and leaving any piece of a tick can lead to infection.

 

If you feel strongly about removing the tick yourself, take these steps:

To remove a tick:

  • Using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
  • Gently pull the tick in a steady, upward motion. Keep pulling straight back until the entire tick is out of the skin. Do not pull too fast as you may leave behind the head of the tick
  • Clean the wound with clan water or with a disinfectant.
  • Monitor the site where the tick was removed for signs of infection.
  • Write down the date you were bitten by the deer tick. This will be important if you begin to experience symptoms of Lyme Disease
  • When trying to remove the tick:
    • DO NOT touch the tick with your bare hands.
    • DO NOT squeeze the body of the tick as this may increase your risk of infection.
    • DO NOT put alcohol, nail polish remover or Vaseline on the tick.
    • DO NOT put a hot match or cigarette on the tick in an effort to make it “back out.”
    • DO NOT use your fingers to remove the tick.

What are the symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Watch for signs of fatigue, joint aches and pains, joint swelling, muscle pains, a bad headache, numbness, stiff neck, tingling, a target or bulls eye shaped rash around the bitten area ( which can expand to other areas of the body), low-grade fevers or chills.bulls-eye-rash-caused-by-lyme-disease

 

Be seen by a doctor as soon as possible

Symptoms may incubate for a while, and Lyme Disease affects people very differently which is why if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is vital to be seen, tested, and treated by a doctor as soon as possible.

The longer you wait to get tested or treated the higher the risk is for contracting Lyme Disease.