We are in the middle of tick season and your summer activities might include unwanted encounters with these tiny pests. May through October is prime tick season in our region. Activities that take you into the high grass or off of the beaten pathways may place you or a family pet where ticks may attach. "If you stay on pathways you're less likely to get infested with ticks, but once you wander off into grasslands or are hiking across brushy territory, that's when the ticks usually attach," said Dr. Gregory Juckett with the West Virginia University School of Medicine.
When people find a tick, the first thing they want to do is remove it. But there is only one safe way to do it yourself. "The best thing to do is to get a pair of tweezers, grab the tick as close to the head as possible, and using gentle, perpendicular pressure, just detach the tick from your skin," according to Dr. Juckett.
Do not twist or jerk the tick, and don't use petroleum jelly, heat, or nail polish to get the tick to detach. Doctors advise that just upsets the tick and makes it more likely to regurgitate and perhaps infect you if it is infested with some sort of pathogen.
Not all ticks carry Lyme Disease, but the deer or blacklegged tick does, which can cause a bull's eye rash. "It may not start out as a bull's-eye, it may start out as a red patch that then develops into a bull's-eye later, and then comes fever, joint pain, and the other symptoms of Lyme disease," said Dr. Juckett.
A black-legged or deer tick usually has to be attached for more than 24 hours before it can transmit Lyme disease. If that happens, taking just 2 Doxycycline tablets can stop Lyme disease before a rash can develop.