If you like to play outdoors in the summertime, you probably know that it's a good idea to carefully inspect yourself for ticks after you get back home.
Ticks nourish themselves sink their teeth into humans and animals and drink our blood every summer, and despite their microscopic size, they can be quite dangerous.
To protect yourself as well as you can, use insect repellent and keep your body fully covered. But no matter how well you prepare yourself, there's still a danger that you get bitten.
So if a tick bites you, it's important to know what to do and how to safely remove the little bugger.
1. Use fine-tipped tweezers
Correctly removing a tick requires the right tool. Fine-tipped tweezers will allow you to work with precision and remove the tick without leaving anything behind.
2. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible
Ticks cling to the skin with their tiny mouths, and it's important to grab them as close to the skin as possible. Make sure not to squeeze the ticks's stomach too hard or toxic fluid may enter your wound.
3. Pull up with a steady hand
Once you get a good grip on the tick, it's time to get rid of it. Pull the tick directly from the skin with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick or you could rip off the body while leaving its head stuck to your skin. If this happens, remove the tick's head using tweezers.
4. Clean your hands
Wash your hands thoroughly. Soap and warm water are good enough, writes the CDC.
5. Kill the tick
Feeling relieved that you've removed the tick from your body? Now, it's time to make sure that it can't harm anyone else.
If squashing the tick seems too disgusting, you can flush it down in the toilet. This is guaranteed to kill it. You can also burn the tick. But if you suspect the tick is carrying a disease, save it in a plastic bag after you kill it, so that doctors can test it and determine whether you've been exposed to disease, writes WebMd.
6. Follow up: watch for symptoms
If you get a fever after getting bitten by a tick, visit a doctor.
Pay attention to area where the tick bit you. It might break out in a rash a week or more after you are bitten. If the rash grows larger than the little red bump where you were bit consult your doctor, writes the Mayo Clinic.
If you get a fever or a headache, if you feel nauseous or unusually tired, if you have muscle or joint pain, or you have facial paralysis, contact your doctor.
What NOT to do if you get bitten by a tick
1. Burn it
Never remove a tick by burning it. The New York Times writes that doing so could pose a risk of infection. You also risk of burning yourself, which is not what you want to do.
2. Paint it
Some people suggest "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly. You want to get rid of the tick as quickly as possible—not wait for it to let go on its own. Instead, follow the advice above.
3. Drown it
Drowning the pest in alcohol is another bad idea. It takes a long time for a tick to drown and die. In the meantime, you remain exposed to the tick and potential infection.
4. Twist it off
Remember to pull the tick straight up without twisting it. Twisting a tick increases the possibility that the tick's mouth parts break off and remain in your body. A tick's head is very small and can be difficult to remove if you're not skilled at it.
Please share this article with all your friends so they also learn what to do if they're bitten by a tick this summer!