University of Maine

Summer is prime time for ticks, and if you’re going to be outside, chances are you’re going to encounter them. There are preventative measures you can take to avoid ticks, but those sneaky little parasites can find their way on the skin of even the most careful.

Tick Avoidance

Ticks hang out on branches, in bushes, and in the grass. When you walk by, they smell fresh blood and they hitchhike so they can get on your skin. One thing you can do to avoid ticks is to wear long pants, socks, and long sleeves. Even if ticks make their way on you, they’ll be easier to spot on your clothes.

That’s not always an option in the summertime with hot weather. You can coat yourself with bug spray to keep the ticks at bay, but the best bet is to check yourself after you go inside. Ticks like to attach where there’s lots of hair and in warm places, so check and recheck all over your body.

Removing A Tick

If you do find a tick on your body, don’t panic. Removing them is actually very simple. The focus should be on getting the tick off as soon as possible. Grab a pair of needle nose tweezers and get them as close to the head of the tick as possible. When you’ve got a grip on the parasite, pull it straight off. Don’t twist, yank, or squeeze.

The idea is to get the entire tick off of and out of your skin. If you see any parts remaining in your skin, remove them with the tweezers and wash the area completely with soap, water, and alcohol.

Disposing Of A Tick

Properly disposing of a tick is important because you don’t want it to crawl back on you or anybody else. If you’re worried about the tick carrying a disease, it’s a good idea to keep it in a sealable plastic bag, in case of symptoms occurring. If they do, you have a sample to take to the doctor.

You could also simply flush the tick down the toilet, just don’t miss, and make sure it’s in there so you can flush it away.