Ticks carry disease that is caused by bacteria, virus and parasites. Bites from this pest transmit infectious diseases to humans such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and Colorado tick fever. These diseases are known to cause a range of flu-like symptoms.
Deer ticks unlike other types of ticks carry Lyme disease which is a disease that causes flu-like symptoms such as joint pain and fatigue and these can develop into a condition that cause permanent damage to the heart and neurological damage if not treated properly. Incorrect removal of the tick can put an individual at higher risk for developing Lyme disease.
- A low grade fever
- Severe headaches
- There is fatigue and malaise which is a persistent sense of illness which usually happen with tick-borne disease.
- Muscle and joint pain
- Vomiting, nausea and diarrhea
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Keep the affected person calm and examine the bitten area carefully. If the tick is flat and engorged, it is a sign that the tick has been in the body for a long time.
- Use a pair of tweezers when removing the tick. The tick has small legs and the head have tiny mouth parts and small pincers are all embedded in the skin. Remove the tick intact and avoid leaving any body parts of the tick in the body especially the head and the mouthparts.
- Take hold of the deer tick head close to the point of skin entry; avoid squeezing the body in order to prevent some bacteria being transferred to the human body. If the bite of deer tick is on the scalp, cut all hairs that cover the affected area for easy removal of the tick.
- Drop the removed tick into a glass jar or small container.
- Pour rubbing alcohol in the glass container in order to submerge the tick. Take the tick to a specialist for laboratory testing since only 1/3 of the deer ticks can be positive of Lyme disease.
- Wash the bitten area if there is blood and dab tea tree oil on the affected bite. Tea tree oil is antibacterial oil that helps with the healing of the deer tick bites.
When to seek help
- If the affected person shows weakness, lethargy, paralysis, fever, confusion, headache and numbness.
- The head and mouthparts of the tick still remain in the skin after the removal
- The symptoms of the bite still persists or becoming worse.
- Pregnant women bitten by deer tick should seek medical help before taking any medications.
- Applying insect repellant specifically helps in repelling the ticks.
- Avoid going to grassy areas and shrubs where there are plenty of ticks lying in wait for a potential “meal”.
- Tuck pants into boots or socks.
- Wear light-colored clothing so that ticks that stick to the clothing can be seen easily.