Just when you thought it was safe to go back outside you see some … THING … crawling on you! Or worse yet–attached to you.
The one thing you don’t want to worry about (in between being creeped out and trying to get it OFF you) is trying to figure out exactly what kind of thing it is.
One little note: Just because you find a certain type of tick crawling or attached to you (or a loved one), it doesn’t mean there aren’t others attached. So it’s in your best interest to take care as if the tick you found was capable of spreading disease, no matter what kind it is. You can save it, especially if attached, in a sealed baggie in the freezer (or better yet, in a Baggie in a container in the freezer) for testing should you need it later. I have heard the techs testing these prefer no tape on them.
Remember not to put anything on the tick BEFORE removing it completely from a person/pet. It could cause the tick to regurgitate its stomach contents into the bloodstream, never a good idea.
So if it has 8 legs, and it’s not a spider, it’s a tick. The super young ones will have 6 legs, but those are so small you probably won’t even be able to count legs–so it doesn’t matter at that point. The deer tick males will basically look dark. They don’t take a blood meal, but they will attach waiting for females. I believe these are not capable of spreading disease, but if anyone knows differently, please let me know. The deer tick females have red/orange on them, have bigger sucky things. Yes, that’s a technical term. I just like saying it.
The dog tick will carry disease also, the most common being Ehrlichiosis. I’m guessing they could carry other pathogens the scientists just haven’t identified yet but that’s the one to watch out for.
The best way to remove a tick is straight out, slowly, by grasping as close to the head as possible. This can be done with tweezers if you don’t have any of the neat tools they have available out there. FLAT HEAD tweezers are best because they won’t squish the tick’s contents into you as much. But sometimes if that’s all you have, you may have to go with it.
If you have a tool that looks like a spoon with a V cut into it, be sure to use it properly. You don’t want to scoop the tick out. You use these by sliding them across the tick, the V will catch it and pull it out.
I found a neat set of curved forceps that look pretty nifty. Not only do they look easy to use, but unlike the plastic ones, you can sterilize these and use them over and not worry about spreading disease, and they should last pretty much forever.
Well laundry calls. If you have any specific questions, let me know!