Backyards, lake houses, and hiking trails are just some of the outdoor places where people like to get a dose of fresh air and maybe some light exercise, but it’s important to protect yourself and loved ones from the insects lurking in these areas, like ticks. Left untreated, family medicine professionals say a tick bite has the potential to develop into a serious health condition. Here, the team at 181st Street Urgent Care Center in New York City explains how to properly detect, remove, and treat a tick bite.
Detecting a tick can be trickier than you might think due to the actual size of the insect. The critters are small, ranging from the size of a poppy seed to that of a sesame seed, depending on their age. Even if you don’t see a bug, look for a dark, mole-like bump on your skin that may be beginning to swell or redden. Just to be safe, family medicine professionals recommend checking yourself every time you walk through grass without long pants and long socks on. Particularly pay attention to creases and joints, as ticks like to hide here.
If you find a tick, remove the insect immediately. Pointed tweezers work best at pulling the mouth parts from your skin. Be careful not to pull or squeeze too hard so you don’t leave parts and fluids inside. Once it’s out, wash your hands and freeze the tick just in case the insect has transferred an illness to you; the doctor will want to examine it. If you couldn’t get it out completely, contact your primary care physician right away.
For the next 36 hours, keep an eye on the area and look for an increase in swelling or the start of a rash. The rash may appear reddish blue or even resemble a bull’s eye, and it will be itchy and tender. Most times, the bite will go away in a few days, but if you begin to experience severe fatigue and a fever and the rash spreading to multiple areas of the body or blistering, see a doctor immediately.
Have a tick bite you want a professional to look at? Turn to the bilingual staff at 181st Street Urgent Care Center. The family medicine experts offer a wide range of services to ensure you remain healthy. Learn more about their same-day-appointments online or call (347) 756-6000 to make one today.