Four Myths About Tick Bites
You know it's about that time of year to be a little extra cautious when it comes to tick bites.
You're most likely to get bitten by a tick between the months of April and September, partly because there are more of them, and partly because you're more likely to be outside. But May and June are when a whole new crop of ticks show up, so you have to be especially careful right now. If you don't know much about ticks or Lyme disease, you're not alone. Here's a list of four common myths.
Myth #1. You Can Remove a Tick with Perfume, Alcohol, or Vaseline. Not true. And you also shouldn't try the trick where you light a match next to it. Instead, use a pair of tweezers, grab as much of the tick as you can, and pull it out gently without twisting it. Then wash your hands, and use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the bite mark.
Myth #2. You'll Know If You've Been Bitten. Actually, tick bites are painless. I know my Grandma found one behind my ear once, I didn't even notice. And even though the telltale sign is a red dot with a bull's eye pattern around it, not everyone gets that. If you get Lyme disease, the main signs are flu-like symptoms. But it can take two or three weeks before they show up.
Myth #3. Every Tick Carries a Disease. No, but it is more common than it used to be. And that's partly because the population of DEER TICKS has gone way up. The three most common species in the U.S. are deer ticks, lone star ticks, and dog ticks. And by far, deer ticks are the most likely to make you sick. Up to 70% of them carry a disease, compared to about 5% for lone star ticks, and maybe 1% for dog ticks.
Myth #4. If You Get Bitten by a Tick with Lyme Disease, You'll Get Sick. That's true if you don't DO anything about it. But if you remove the tick within 24 hours, you'll probably be fine. That's how long it typically takes for them to transmit Lyme disease, because the bacteria that cause it live in their stomachs. And it takes about a day for them to make it all the way to their mouth.
Hopefully you won't have to deal with it at all, but just in case, there's some knowledge for you. Here's to a tick free summer!