Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania
May 23, 2021
Hello! Do you know what to do when you spot a tick?
When you spot a tick on a person or pet, remove it right away. If the tick has not attached itself to the host, you can simply pick it up and place it in a plastic bag. If the tick is attached, you’ll need to remove it carefully, following these simple steps listed here:
- Using fine-point tweezers or a tick removal tool, grip the tick at the base of your skin, getting as close as you can to its head.
- Steadily pull the tick straight up and out.
- Place the tick in a plastic bag. Saving the tick will allow for you to have it tested for tick-borne pathogens by the Tick Research Lab of PA.
- Clean the bite with an antiseptic such as isopropyl alcohol.
- While some redness at the site is normal, this should subside. Watch for signs of infection. If you develop a rash, tenderness or pain, see your doctor right away.
- Avoid burning the tick or coating it with any substances such as soap, alcohol, petroleum jelly or acetone. Covering the tick with any substance or applying heat will irritate the tick and place you at greater risk of contracting a tick-borne disease. It may also make it impossible to test the tick for diseases.
- After you have removed the tick, monitor the area for several weeks. Check for signs of infection including rash or swelling. Keep an eye out for a bullseye-type rash, which may indicate the presence of Lyme disease and can occur anywhere on the body.
- Laboratory testing is available through the Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania. Testing can reveal the presence of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, Anaplasma and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever even before symptoms appear.
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Protect yourself, loved ones and pets from ticks. The Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania is continuing to offer Free Basic Panel Tick Testing for PA residents through funds received from the PA Department of Health. If you find a tick attached, don’t panic.
The continued advice to sit around and “watch for signs of infection” is not helping patients. ILADS recommends consideration of prophylactic treatment for ALL black legged tick bites with a minimum of 20 days of doxycycline.
It’s also important to remember that Lyme is just the tip of the spear and ticks transmit 19+ pathogens, some of which can be transmitted within minutes. Also, other types of ticks transmit disease as well and need to be considered.