Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lyme Prevention

Yesterday, I shared with everyone how to view Under Our Skin on Hulu. 

Today, I want to share with you important information regarding tick removal.

It is important to take the necessary precautions to help prevent any tick borne illnesses by using small pointy tweezers and grasping the tick as close to the head as possible and pulling straight out without yanking. It is always a good idea to keep handy a tick kit including small pointy tweezers preferably with attached magnifier, non-latex gloves, small pencil, alcohol prep pads, zip lock bags, tick identification and removal information card.

1. It is important not to touch the tick when removing it so avoid handling ticks with uncovered fingers. Use tweezers designed for removal. If you absolutely must use your hands, protect your fingers with non-latex gloves, plastic or even a paper towel.

2. Take the tweezers and place them around the area where the mouth of the tick enter the skin.

3. Using a slow steady motion, pull the tick away from the skin. Be careful not to jerk, crush, squeeze or puncture the tick.

4. After you remove the tick, place it directly into a Ziploc bag or other sealable container. Wash the area around the site of the bite with soap and water. Use an alcohol pad to disinfect it even further.

5. If possible, keep the tick alive for a month in case symptoms of a tick borne illness develop. Place the tick in a labeled, sealed bag with a lightly moistened paper towel. Label the bag with the date of the bite and the patient. For your own protection, tape around the Ziploc part of the bag to prevent the tick from exiting the bag.

It is important NOT to flush the tick down the toilet.  Some people suggest to do this, but ticks can survive a good flush AND the water.  If you want, you can send the tick to IgeneX for a Tick Test.   It's about 300 bucks for them to test 5 different diseases, but keep in mind that they only test for one strain and each disease may have  hundreds of strains. So even if your tick comes back free and clear from disease, it may not be. 

There is controversy about how long ticks need to be attached for transmission.  *most* sources say that it takes at least 24 hours of attachment to transmit a disease.  However at the last ILADS conference, they talked about a research study they had done with a Lyme infected tick and a mouse. They injected radioactive die into the bacteria and then the tick attached to the mouse.  Within some amount of time, the bacteria had already left the blood and crossed the blood brain barrier. It was something ridiculous like 30 minutes.

1 comment:

Krystal J. said...

I also read of 2 other possible ways to remove a tick that even lessens the chance of injecting more bacteria into our systems.
1) Saturate a cotton ball with liquid soap, then put it directly on top of the tick for five min. Roll the cotton ball off and the tick should have detached from the skin, and gotten caught in cotton ball.
2)Put a large amount of petroleum jelly on top of the tick, and it will detach.

I haven't tried these yet, but if I do get another tick bite, I'm planning on trying them first since you know rather quickly whether it's going to work or not.