You Have a Tick Bite, Now What? Do These 5 Things Right Now! by Joyce Knestrick, CRNP, FAANP
You found a tick! Not sure what to do next? Here are five things you need to do as soon as you spot it:
- Remove it. Use tweezers to gently dislodge the tick (avoid, twisting, squeezing or crushing!). If you are not confident with removal, see your nurse practitioner or provider to remove.
- Bag it. It’s not always easy to identify a blacklegged tick (aka a deer tick), so save it to show your health-care provider.
- Wash the site. Use soap and water to disinfect the area and your hands.
- Circle the spot. You’ll need to keep an eye out for any sort of reaction or bullseye rash in the coming weeks, so make sure you know the exact site.
- Call your provider. Treatment depends on the type of tick and how long it was embedded (Lyme disease transmittal usually takes 36 hours). Some patients need an antibiotic. For others, we take a wait-and-see approach.
Most tick bites do not lead to Lyme disease, but every encounter is a concern. There are about 300,000 reported cases annually, but many more go undetected, usually because people have no idea they ever had a tick. If you spot your hitchhiker, you’re already one step ahead. A nurse practitioner can help you figure out what to do next.
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