The Clock is Ticking: How to avoid & treat ticks fast

Who would’ve guessed that one of the biggest hazards this summer would be something so small? That’s right, we are talking about ticks. It seems that with more time spent outdoors, more rural development and warmer temperatures, ticks are almost unavoidable. 

Unfortunately, many tick bites carry with them bacteria, infections and diseases. Remember, when it comes to ticks, time is of the essence. To keep everyone in your family safe and tick-free, here is a quick reference guide addressing everything from facts about ticks to removing and preventing them.

Basic Facts About Ticks:

  • Ticks are not only found in wooded areas and tall grass, they are also found in bushes and along seashores.
  • They prefer to attach in hairy, warm areas, such as the scalp, behind the ear, in the armpit and groin and also between fingers and toes.
  • Ticks are most common during the spring and summer months, as well as at night.
  • Ticks can be transferred from pets to humans, so pay close attention to where all members of your family have been.
  • Ticks are so small they are often mistaken for freckles.
  • When attached, ticks release antihistamines, anticoagulants and other inhibitors. This can prevent wounds from healing, as well as reduce pain or itching responses.


Common Ticks & Tick-Borne Diseases in Georgia:

Some of the common symptoms for many tick-borne diseases are headaches, flu like symptoms, fatigue, joint pain and rash; however, it is important to note that some people do not have symptoms and they can occur any time between 3 to 22 days after a tick bite. To ensure your safety, as well as others, it is best to visit a physician if you have a tick that has been attached more than 24 hours.
  • Lone Star Tick: Red Meat Allergy, Heartland Virus, Tularemia and Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI)
  • American Dog Tick (or commonly known as the seed tick): Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.
  • Black-legged Tick (or commonly known as the deer tick):  Powassan Virus, Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Borrelia Miyamotoi Disease.


Steps to Take if You Find a Tick:

  • Use thin forceps or tweezers to remove the tick. Make sure you are getting as close to the skin as possible and pull up slowly without twisting. Using a magnifying glass is strongly encouraged. Once the tick is removed, clean the area thoroughly.
  • Do not squeeze the tick and do not use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives or a lit match to remove or kill the tick. The irritation to the tick could cause it to release bacteria faster, as well as create infection or injury to the person.
  • Save the tick in a plastic bag and take it to your healthcare provider to have it tested for disease(s).


How to Tick-Proof Yourself & Your Home:
  • Protect your ankles by wearing long pants and tall socks. Be sure to tuck your shirt into your pants so there is no easily-accessible skin. Some experts suggest wearing duct tape sticky side out so that ticks get stuck on the tape.
  • Wear repellent on your skin, clothing and gear. For safe skin use, experts recommend using repellant with less than 40% DEET. For clothing and gear, using permethrin will not only repel ticks, it will kill them.
  • For your home, start by making your yard less appealing to rodents and critters that may be tick-carriers. Keep your lawn short and build a barrier with wood chips, mulch and/or gravel, these materials create distance between tall grass and woods, where ticks like to crawl.
  • Tick bites can cause a host of side effects if left untreated or improperly treated. 



If you or a loved one shows signs of a tick-borne disease, seek expert medical attention. ChoiceOne Urgent Care has convenient locations in Hamilton Mill and Sugar Hill; ChoiceOne practicioners can diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. For more information, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/urgentcare.

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