The summer months in New Jersey mean long days outside soaking up the sunshine. Unfortunately, it could also mean being at risk for tick bites. It’s hard not to panic when you find a tick embedded in you or a loved one. We hope that these tips will help you know what next steps you need to take if you find yourself in this situation.
The first step is tick removal or retrieval. You will need a good pair of tweezers for this. Clean the area around the bite with rubbing alcohol. You want to make sure you don’t squeeze the body of the tick, and instead pull out the mouth of the tick with the tweezers. Pull the tick out in a steady motion, making sure to not move it around too much. When the tick is out, clean the area again with the rubbing alcohol. Don’t fall for the old wives’ tales with petroleum jelly or burning cigarettes, the method above will work just fine.
If you live in an area where Lyme disease is common, you might want to save the tick to get it tested. You also might want to hold on to the tick while you monitor your symptoms. (The tick does not have to be alive to have it tested). Make sure to look out for any sort of rash, a fever, or flu-like symptoms. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to visit a doctor.
Some types of ticks are more likely to carry diseases than others. The three most common types of ticks in New Jersey are The Blacklegged Tick, The Lone Star Tick, and The American Dog Tick.
The female blacklegged tick, or Deer tick, has a red/orange abdomen with a black dorsal shield. It has a tear drop shape and only the female can carry diseases. These ticks primarily carry Lyme disease in addition to other tick-borne illnesses.
The Lone Star Tick has a single white dot in the center of its body. They are more likely to carry Tularemia and Ehrlichiosis. This is the tick that causes meat allergies.
The American Dog Tick has a dark brown abdomen and white marks on its dorsal shield. It can also carry Ehrlichiosis but is primarily known for spreading Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
With tick bites, prevention is key. The good news is that it takes 24 to 36 hours for the tick to spread any diseases so if you notice the tick quickly, you’re probably in the clear. This is why it is crucial to always check yourself , children and pets after being in any heavily wooded areas. You can also stay on top of tick prevention by contacting one of our trained professionals today at 732-228-8092.