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Ticks

Ticks can be dangerous. Here's how to remove them from your skin safely.

Like any outdoor insect, ticks can be a real pest. But they’re more than just a nuisance – ticks can carry dangerous diseases like Lyme disease, Heartland virus, tickborne relapsing fever, and others

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can prevent ticks by checking your body and clothes for them after walking through and by using insect repellent. 

But if you’ve already been bitten, here’s what to know:

How to remove a tick

Tick removal should be done carefully so as not to crush the bug, which . Here’s how to remove a tick that’s attached to your skin, according to the CDC guidelines:

  1. Use fine, pointed tweezers to grab the tick close to the skin.
  2. Lift steadily without twisting the tick, which can cause the mouth to break off and stay in the skin.
  3. Clean the bite area as well as your hands, using rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  4. Dispose of the tick by putting it in alcohol, a sealed bag, in tightly wrapped tape or by flushing it down the toilet.

It's important to remove the tick quickly, so avoid methods that require waiting until the tick detaches itself.

There’s also no need to save the tick for laboratory testing, which is not recommended, the CDC says. Instead, if you develop symptoms such as a rash or fever, contact your doctor. You can also use the CDC’s , which assists in care after tick bites. 

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How to remove a tick from a dog

Removing a tick from a dog is a similar process to removing it from a person – grasp the tick with a pair of tweezers and pull straight up to prevent the tick from popping. Clean the bite area with antiseptic and tweezers with alcohol. 

According to the Humane Society, you’ll want to over the next few days. Contact your vet if you notice any symptoms of tickborne illness, such as swollen joints, swollen lymph nodes, fever, loss of appetite, neurological problems or general fatigue. 

What does a tick look like? 

Ticks can vary in size depending on – adults are about the size of an apple seed, nymphs are the size of a poppy seed and larvae are about as small as a grain of sand. When they feed, they swell with blood and will be round in the middle. 

Adult ticks are usually reddish-brown or black and have eight legs. Check out found in the U.S. 

How to prevent ticks

Because ticks are most often found in grassy, wooded areas, you can take precautions by walking in the center of trails where there is less grass. When it comes to attire, choose light-colored clothing that makes creeping insects easy to spot. Tuck your shirt into your pants and pants into your socks.

Once inside, make sure to shower within two hours and tumble dry clothes on high heat for 10 minutes. You can also be diligent by checking your body, your children's bodies and your pets for ticks. On humans, ticks will normally hide in or around :

  • Hair
  • Eats
  • Belly button
  • Armpits
  • Waist
  • Between the legs
  • Back of the knees

On pets, ticks can often be found in :

  • Ears
  • Eyelids
  • Toes
  • Under the collar
  • Around the tail
  • Under the front legs
  • Between back legs

Symptoms of tickborne illness

There are more than 14 illnesses that ticks can pass to humans, Lyme disease being the most common. Here's what to according to the CDC:

  • Fever
  • Aches and pains
  • Rash
  • Weakness or paralysis, which could indicate .

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