This time of the year, ticks are a real threat in the Connecticut and New England area. If you are hiking, or spending time outdoors in a grassy or wooded area, there is a high chance you could be bitten by a deer tick. Deer ticks are actually the most common tick carrying Lyme Disease, so it is extremely important to learn how to avoid them, and what to do if you do get bitten by one. Here’s the good news: With precautions, you can avoid getting bitten by a deer tick so you can continue social distancing, tick free. AFC Urgent Care West Hartford is here to help you avoid Lyme Disease and social distance from ticks in 2021.
Ticks did not get the memo on social distancing. The most obvious way to avoid getting Lyme Disease is to not get bitten by a deer tick in the first place! Here are a few simple, but highly effective ways of doing this:
- Use Insect Repellent: Use repellents that contain the common ingredient DEET. It provides protection against many biting insects (most importantly ticks and mosquitoes). The Environmental Protection Agency and Center for Disease Protection have tools to help you pick the best insect repellent for you.
- Stay on the trail: When hiking, walk in the center of trails and avoid tall vegetation.
- Layer up: Wear long sleeves, socks and pants when in the woods, and when hiking. This includes in your own yard.
- Do a self-inspection: Make sure to check all parts of your body…especially these areas (use a mirror if needed):
- Under the arms
- Behind the ears
- In the scalp
- Inside the belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around all body hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
- Don’t forget about your furry friends: Check your pet for ticks as they may carry them into the house. Fur is a perfect place for ticks to hide, so try giving them a thorough brushing.
I’ve been bitten by a tick, how do I remove it?
Okay, so despite your valiant efforts, the sneaky little bugger bit you. It may not mean that you have Lyme Disease though, so let’s look at how you can properly remove a tick. Note that the “DO NOT’S” are very important, and doing them will only increase the likelihood the tick will transmit Lyme Disease.
- Using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Gently pull the tick in a steady, upward motion.
- Wash the area with a disinfectant immediately.
- When trying to remove the tick:
- DO NOT touch the tick with your bare hands.
- DO NOT squeeze the body of the tick as this may increase your risk of infection.
- DO NOT put alcohol, nail polish remover or Vaseline on the tick.
- DO NOT put a hot match or cigarette on the tick in an effort to make it “back out.”
- DO NOT use your fingers to remove the tick.
Applying alcohol, nail polish remover, or a hot match can irritate a tick and cause it to regurgitate its gut contents into your skin. The “guts” of a tick can contain the Lyme Disease causing bacterium.
Get a tick removed at AFC Urgent Care West Hartford
Lyme disease is not to be taken lightly. If you or a member of your family have been bitten by a tick and don’t feel comfortable removing it on your own, we encourage you to call us at (860) 986-6440 or come in to get them professionally removed. At 1030 Boulevard, West Hartford, CT, AFC Urgent Care West Hartford is open 7 days a week and is well equipped to remove ticks. We accept most insurances and we also offer a TeleCare service https://buff.ly/2R0r03D to see one of our providers virtually at the comfort of your own home.
Virtually, we can assess tick bites and provide next steps on treatment. If you need a tick to be removed by one of our providers we can meet you at your car in our parking lot. All of our staff is equipped with protective gear and we sanitize our facilities frequently throughout the day. We make you feel safe during your visit with us.