Tick Mistakes: How To Protect Yourself from Tick-Borne Diseases

Dr. Thomas Mather, Tick Expert, University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center

Ticks pose a significant health risk as carriers of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. To stay protected, knowing the correct tick removal methods is crucial.  Equip-4-Ticks Resource Center, a collaboration between tick expert Dr. Thomas Mather, PhD, and Insect Shield Repellent Technology, was launched to offer tips, informational content, and a comprehensive video library to help protect the public from ticks and the dangerous diseases they may carry.

“There’s a right way to take care of the tick attached to you. And then there are several wrong ways.”

Dr. Thomas Mather, Tick Expert, University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center

Top 4 Tick Mistakes

Dr. Thomas Mather, Tick Expert, University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center

Spending time outdoors can be much fun, but it also comes with the risk of encountering ticks. Ticks can carry harmful diseases like Lyme diseaseRocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more, so it’s crucial to know how to remove them correctly. Unfortunately, people often make mistakes when dealing with ticks, leading to potential health risks. In this blog post, we’ll cover some of the most common tick mistakes and how to avoid them. 

Tick Mistake #1 – Burning the Tick

One common mistake people make is trying to burn the tick with a hot object to make it back out. This is a bad idea because it can cause the tick to spit more germs into your skin. Plus, you risk burning your skin as well. Instead, always use a nice pointy tweezer to remove the tick from as close to your skin as possible and pull it straight out.

Tick Mistake #2 – Using Liquid Products To Make A Tick “Back Out”

Another mistake is using products like essential oils, dish soap, or Vaseline to get the tick back out. This method will only work for some ticks, though. Removing the tick immediately without squeezing the back end is better. Remember, the tick is attached to your skin with a straw; squeezing it can push more germs into your skin. Getting that tick off your body quickly, instead of waiting for the tick to back out on its own, will limit the chances of the tick spitting its germs into you.

Tick Mistake #3 – Throwing Your Tick Away

After pulling a tick off your body, it’s tempting to throw it away as quickly as possible, but without knowing what type of tick it was, how long it’s been feeding, and what germs it could carry, this would be a mistake. So, always make sure to save your tick after pulling it off. You can put the tick in a Ziploc bag or some other container until you can take a picture and send it to a tick expert. It’s essential to identify the tick to know what kind of tick it was and how long it was attached to you. This information will help you determine your risk of disease.

You can send a photo of your tick to TickSpotters, and they will provide you helpful information about the tick you’ve found if there are any possible risks, and the best next steps for staying protected.

Tick Mistake #4 – Not Wearing Permethrin-Treated Clothing

The biggest mistake you can make is not wearing tick-repellent clothing. Ticks are out there and will likely get on you if you enter their habitat. Permethrin-treated clothing, especially socks, and shoes sprayed with permethrin, is the easiest way to help repel ticks and potentially keep them from biting you. It’s essential to take all preventive measures, and wearing tick-repellent clothing should be a part of everyone’s prevention strategy.

Before You Go Outside

Ticks can be dangerous, so it’s essential to avoid any mistakes when dealing with them. Permanently remove the tick with tweezers when you can, don’t throw your tick away, and wear permethrin-treated clothing to help prevent bites in the first place. Avoid old & outdated methods such as burning the tick and using liquid products that may worsen the situation. By following these tips, you can help reduce the risk of tick attachment and return to enjoying the outdoors safely.

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