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I Found a Tick! Now What?

Tick-related illness typically peaks in the summertime. And a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows diseases related to tick bites, like Lyme disease, are rising.

Posted: Jun. 8, 2018 9:04 AM
Updated: Jun. 8, 2018 10:15 AM

CLEVELAND – Tick-related illness typically peaks in the summertime.

And a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows diseases related to tick bites, like Lyme disease, are rising.

So, what should someone do if they find a tick attached to their body?

Cleveland Clinic infectious disease specialist, Alan Taege, M.D., outlines the “do’s” and “don’ts”.

“Don’t burn the ticks off; don’t bury them under fingernail polish, and don’t squeeze them,” said Dr. Taege. “Try to take tweezers and as get close to the skin as you can, so you get close to where the little snout is and remove them.”

Ticks can transmit a handful of diseases to humans – Lyme disease is one of the most common.

Dr. Taege said ticks should be removed promptly. He said it’s rare that ticks can cause illness in just a few hours.

In fact, according to Dr. Taege, ticks usually need to be attached to someone for a day, or almost two days, before they transmit disease.

Ticks feed on a person’s blood and infection occurs when bacteria from a tick enters the bloodstream.

Dr. Taege said it’s important to not squeeze a tick when trying to remove it, because doing so could accidentally force tick bacteria into the body.

Once a tick is removed, Dr. Taege warns to watch for symptoms.

“Watch for fever, achiness or a rash,” he said. “The Lyme infection is typically called the bulls-eye, or the target rash, where it’s a circular rash and can be quite large.”

Dr. Taege said it’s important to call a doctor if there’s concern about a tick bite or symptoms.

He said the good news is that most tick-borne illnesses can be treated easily with antibiotics.

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