Tackling Ticks Naturally

A tick is a small arachnid that lives as a parasite, attaching itself to the skin and feeding on blood. They live in the fur and feathers of birds and bites most often occur during early spring and late summer especially out in the wild. Most ticks don’t carry diseases but some can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Tularemia. If you remove a tick and develop allergic symptoms, a rash or a skin infection seek medical attention as soon as possible.

How do I remove a tick?

Remove a tick as quickly as possible after a bite. The sooner it’s removed, the less likely you are to get an infection.

Never handle a tick with your bare hands. Use either tweezers, gloves, or cover your fingers with tissue paper.

To remove the tick:

  • Grasp it as close to the head, which is in your skin, as you can.
  • DO NOT grab the tick around the belly. You will push infected blood back into your body.
  • Pull the tick straight out smoothly. Do not twist and do not jerk.
  • Don’t try to smother the tick out with substances like petroleum jelly, nail polish, gasoline or anything else. It increases your risk of infection.
  • Do not try to burn the tick off while it’s attached to your skin.
  • Do keep the tick in a jar or ziplock bag and store it in the freezer in case you need to identify it later.

 

How can I prevent tick bites?

  • Wear long pants and long sleeves when outdoors. Be sure you tuck your pants into your socks.
  • Stick to the middle of a trail; avoid the edges of paths where it’s easier to pick up tick nymphs.
  • Check your skin as soon as you get home. Ticks love to hide in the hairline, ears, belly button and the groin.
  • Tumble dry your outdoor clothes on the highest setting for an hour to kill any ticks on your clothing.

 

How can I treat tick bites?

  • Don’t scratch the bite area.
  • Use a cold compress or ice pack to control swelling. Apply for 15 minutes every hour for the first six hours after a bite.
  • Use one drop of tea tree oil every four hours to help with pain and swelling.
  • Apply one-two drops of lavender oil to help control itching.
  • Use peppermint oil or toothpaste on a bit to soothe.
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