After a long and peaceful walk in the forest to recharge your batteries, you return home for a well-deserved rest. When you take off your clothes, you are amazed to discover that a tick has clung to your skin. How did she get to you? Where does it live and what are the reflexes to adopt after its discovery?
Here are our 4 tips to follow after a tick bite.
The tick: who is it?
A tick is a species of giant mite, visible to the naked eye, whose size varies from 3 to 6 mm, or even 30 mm for some species living in tropical areas. This insect is particularly active in spring and early fall, when temperatures are mildest. The tick lives in forests, woods, diverse and varied vegetation.
Contrary to popular belief, the tick does not attack only animals, but also humans. In order to cling to its prey, the tick places itself on a high grass (bushes, twigs, wild plants, etc.), at approximately knee height and patiently waits for its victim. Dog, cat, rat, bird, even reptiles, no one is spared by this voracious, bloodthirsty insect. Once its host has reached its reach, the tick clings to the skin with its claws.
The tick bite is painless, but itches a few hours later. These insects are vectors of serious diseases, such as Lyme disease, and it is important to have the right reflexes in the event of a tick bite. Concerning your pet, there are more or less effective means of protection to fight against this small parasite.
If you find a tick attached to you, here’s how to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
1 – Remove the tick
The longer the tick stays on your skin, the more likely you are to be contaminated or infected. It is important to perform a full body check each time you return from a nature walk.
To attach to its host, the parasite uses its rostrum (part located in the oral region of the insect). The latter thus planted, allows the tick to be well anchored and to fully enjoy its meal. When removing the insect, it is important to catch it as close to the skin as possible, in order to remove its rostrum.
You can use a sharp-tip pliers or a special tool to remove ticks, sold in pharmacies and drugstores. Once the tick has been grasped, rotate it to gently detach it. By doing this, you avoid breaking the rostrum of the insect and leaving it embedded in the skin.
Do not apply any product to put him to sleep such as ether or other. The scent could cause regurgitation of the parasite which would cause an allergy or the transmission of microbes.
2 – Disinfect the wound
Once the tick removal procedure is complete, you can disinfect the wound.
Before that, you can use a suction system, such as the aspiration syringe for example, to remove a few drops of blood, in case the latter are infected. Afterwards, use soap and water to clean the wound, then use an antiseptic to complete the disinfection. Remember to wash your hands well.
3 – Monitor the progress of the wound
The tick bite area should be watched for about 3 weeks. Usually, a tick bite leaves a slight inflammation of the skin. This inflammation lasts 2 to 4 days and disappears without specific treatment.
If after a few days you notice a red patch, like a halo, which spreads a little more each day, and you feel the symptoms of a flu-like condition, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible. These signs are often suggestive of Lyme disease. Specific treatment must be implemented. It is important to keep in mind that not all ticks carry this disease, therefore not everyone who has been bitten by a tick will get Lyme disease.
4 – Advance science
A participatory research program has emerged in France under the name CITIQUE. This program is supported by scientists who wish to advance research on this parasite and the diseases it transmits.
Thus, to help advance science, CITIQUE invites you to download the Tick Signaling application on your smartphone or to complete the form directly online from a computer.
By going to this application, you will be explained the procedure to follow in order to send your biting tick to the Laboratory concerned.