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Department of Family Medicine

Handling Ticks

Procedures for Handling Ticks

 

Male Black Legged Tick

 The procedures listed below are appropriate to follow as precautionary measures for the prevention of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis. In all instances, the development of suggestive symptoms during the incubation period requires physician consultation to determine the need for treatment or further testing.

Prevention:

• Tuck trouser legs into boots and shirt into trousers.
• Wear light colored clothing.
• Use insect repellent containing DEET (less than 20% concentration).
• Apply repellent to clothing and exposed skin except for the face.
• Treat pants, socks, and shoes with permethrin (kills on contact).
• Inspect yourself several times a day for attached ticks.
• After being outdoors, remove clothing – wash in hot water and dry at high setting. Inspect body carefully and bathe promptly.

Tick Removal :

Grasp tick as close as possible to the skin surface with fine-pointed tweezers, pull straight back from the skin with slow, steady force. Avoid crushing the tick body.
• Disinfect area of the bite with alcohol or other disinfectant.
• Document the date of the bite on your calendar.
• Monitor self for symptoms.

Acute Initial Symptoms:

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

• Incubation period of 2 to 21 days, average of 7 days.
• Chills, fever, headache and muscle ache.
• Reddish-purple-black rash on soles of feet, palms, wrists, ankles, and forearms (60%-70% of cases).
• Untreated RMSF similar to ehrlichiosis.

Lyme Disease

• Incubation period of 3 to 31 days, average of 7 days.
• Fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and bulls eye rash (in about 60 %of cases) radiating from point of bite. Not to be confused with allergic reaction to tick saliva at site of the bite that does not expand and disappears in days.
• Untreated disease may lead to arthritis, neurological and cardiovascular problems.

Ehrlichiosis

• Incubation period of 7 to 21 days, average of 7 days.
• Fever, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches.
• No prominent rash present.
• Untreated disease may lead to heart and circulatory problems, renal failure, coma, seizure and death.

If symptoms occur during the incubation periods listed above, see your physician!

 
 
 

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