Healthy Living

Lyme Disease: The Top 10 Questions

What should you do if you were bitten by a tick?

What should you do if you were bitten by a tick?

The first thing to do is remove the tick properly.

Any inappropriate removal of the tick such as holding a hot match to it, squeezing it, or applying Vaseline or oil to it will only increase the chance of transmitting bugs. The tick must be removed with tweezers that are fine pointed, taking hold of the tick from the side where it meets the skin and then removing the tick from the skin by gently pulling in the opposite way from which the tick is embedded.

The longer the tick is embedded within the skin, the higher the risk is for transmission. Thus, it is possible to get this disease even if the tick has only been embedded for 24 hours or less.

When the tick is removed, it is recommended to save it in case you want to have it tested for Lyme or other pathogens. Also, the doctor may want to see the tick and check if it is the kind of tick that causes Lyme disease.

If a person is bitten by the type of tick that carries Lyme disease, also called deer tick, the physician will likely advise one of two approaches. One approach is to observe and treat if signs or symptoms of Lyme disease develop. The other approach is to treat with a preventive antibiotic immediately.