Spring temperatures mean that Minnesotans are out of their homes and enjoying the natural outdoor wonders that our state has to offer. Unfortunately that translates into warmer weather and “Ticks.” Ticks are pathogen carrying arachnoids. Tick bites can transmit disease to humans and animals.

 

Myth and removal

Don’t fall for the myths. Here are four prominent myths:

1. Touching it with a hot match.

2. Covering it with petroleum jelly.

3. Covering it with nail polish.

4. Freezing it off.

These are all “supposed” to make the tick “back out” of the skin on its own. But they often have the opposite effect, forcing the tick to hold tight, burrow deeper, and possibly deposit more of its disease carrying secretions into the wound, which increases the risk of infection.

A tick feeds by way of a two pronged mouthpart held in place with salivary cement and secured with tiny backward pointing barbs. To remove the tick, use narrow tipped tweezers and grasp it as close to the skin as possible. Then pull upward slowly and steadily. If the mouthpart remains in the skin, try to remove it. If you can’t, check with your clinician. Wash your skin with soap and warm water. Try not to crush or squeeze an attached tick.

 

Prevention

1. Wear light colored clothing. (This makes ticks easier to spot)

2. Tuck pants inside your socks.

3. Use insect repellent.

4. Stay in the middle of a path away from tall grass and brush.

5. Stay in sunny open areas.

6. Inspect yourself and your children and pets. (Especially the legs and groin)

The shower is a good place to conduct a tick check. Feel for any unusual bumps when lathering up.

Have a safe and fun summer.

 

Mike (Ski) Cieniawski  is a NRP and community relations officer for Ringdahl Ambulance, Fergus Falls.

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