Tick removal: What’s the best way to get them out?

If you’ve ever had a tick, you’ll know how unpleasant it is when one of these little blood suckers starts making a meal of you.

Most of the time tick bites are just annoying — they might hurt a bit, itch for a while and possibly swell up.

But ticks can pose a serious health risk. While there’s still ongoing debate about whether or not you can get Lyme disease from ticks in Australia, ticks can cause allergic reactions, infections and very rarely in humans, lead to paralysis.

A new report states there’s no evidence you can get Lyme disease from ticks in Australia, but acknowledges ticks can spread infections, some of which are yet to be identified. Ticks can also cause allergic reactions, and very rarely, lead to paralysis.

The problem with ticks

Dr Cameron Webb, a medical entomologist at NSW Health Pathology Westmead Hospital, says allergic reactions are the most common health issue related to tick bites in Australia.

Sometimes these reactions are life threatening. One study from a hospital in Sydney’s northern beaches, where these ticks are found in huge numbers, found 34 of the 500 people who presented with tick bites suffered anaphylaxis.

Your chances of having a severe allergic reaction are increased if you disturb the tick — by scratching it or try to remove it — and it injects more of its allergen-containing saliva.

But there’s been very little hard data to help determine the best way to remove ticks to prevent allergic reactions.

“In the past there’s been a whole range of ‘urban myths’ — substances you need to put on ticks to remove them, everything from a lighted match to kerosene to nail polish remover,” Dr Webb says.

“The problem is that will just make the tick agitated, and the more agitated it is, the more likely it is to inject saliva and toxin into the bite site… Read More>>

Source: ABC News

Send this to a friend