Nobody wants ticks in or around their homes, especially as they can attach themselves to our bodies or the bodies of our animals and potentially cause serious health problems if tick removal is not implemented as soon as possible.
Ideally, people can prevent ticks from getting on them or their animals in the the first place. However, completely avoiding ticks is impossible. Furthermore, spotting a tick may be a little too late as they can spread diseases.
It is best to try as much as possible to prevent tick an extensive tick population from developing on your property but ticks' eggs usually hatch within 2-3 weeks and dozens of eggs are laid at a time, allowing ticks to spread rapidly when the environment is right.
What Do Ticks Look Like?
With eight legs, ticks are, in fact, arachnids and belong to the order Acari (or Acarina). There are more than 800 different known species in the world today, with around 90 in the United States alone. Having a little knowledge of ticks can help you ascertain whether you have a tick infection or something not so sinister. Most ticks you come in contact with are usually at the larval stage and are around the size of a grain of sand. Ticks at the nymph stage are the size of a poppy seed, while an unfed adult-sized tick is around the size of an apple seed.
Tick nymphs and adults have 8 legs while tick larvae usually have 6 legs. Ticks don’t have wings and they are flat and oval in shape until they have to suck blood from their host where they will swell considerably. Ticks appear in different colors depending on their stages of development or how often they feed. They can be grayish-white, brown, yellowish, or reddish-brown in color. Generally, ticks have three stages in their life cycle: the larva, nymph, and adult.
Ticks are mostly found in the wooded and brushy areas with tall grasses and weeds. These insects can climb on plants, and attach themselves to animals and humans that walk through infested areas. In most cities of the United States, the peak season for tick infestation and attacks are between the months of April and July. Dog ticks are the most common type you will come across on your pets. They can trigger spotted fever in animals and even humans, and, in rare cases, may even cause paralysis if they attach themselves close to the spine of humans or animals.
Ticks are generally transmitters (vectors) of a number of diseases. Ticks are capable of wiping out an entire herd of livestock, and they rely on blood to survive. Aside from typical fever conditions, ticks can also cause aches and pains in both animals and humans. In most humans, an itchy area where the tick has attached itself is the first symptoms of tick bites, and this may be followed by headaches. Itches caused by ticks are usually characterized by discoloration (reddish or brown-reddish spots of the affected areas). When the affected area is scratched, it can trigger a rash, and even scaly patches on the affected parts of the skin.
Remove Ticks from a Dog
Dogs and cats can easily become infested with ticks, and the reason being that they can hardly notice the insects on their bodies. Dogs that have more fur can become infested by ticks more easily than those with short hair. Similarly, ticks can remain on the skin of dogs for days or weeks before the animals start showing signs of tick bites. Dogs that are used for gaming or hunting, and those that are allowed to roam through woods and grassy areas, are more prone to tick bites than those that stay indoors most of the time. There is always a higher chance that a dog has more than one tick on its body at a time; therefore, it is important to check the entire external body area of the dog before treatment commences.
In order to remove a tick from dog, you must watch out for signs of agitation. For instance, a dog that has been bitten by a tick will generally scratch its body against the floor, wall or any other area that acts as a temporary scratching post because of the discomfort generated. Agitation is the first symptom of a tick bite on a dog. When the tick is not removed, the dog may suffer from additional health problems, such as loss of appetite, extreme fever and, in extreme cases, paralysis.
If the dog breed has thick fur, it is best to remove all the fur surrounding the infected area before removing the tick. You may seek the help of a veterinary doctor for this purpose. The presence of tick on a dog is characterized by a brown or reddish-brown insect that is partially burrowed into the skin. Take note of the fact that you may have to spend several hours removing the ticks one by one, with the use of tweezers and through the process described for tick removal from humans (see below). Make sure you have a sealed bag in a place where you can drop each tick as you remove them with tweezers from the skin of the dog.
Video Showing How to Remove a Tick Without Pain or Tweezers
Once the entire tick has been removed, make sure you check the entire body of the dog once again, especially the top of the animal where it is safest for the ticks. Your vet will recommend the appropriate treatment and vaccination to help your dog recover quickly after infection. You may want to give your dog a thorough antiseptic bath to ensure that the tick wounds heal quickly and are protected from infection.
Tick Removal from Humans
Tick removal from humans must be conducted as soon as one detects the presence of ticks on any part of the body. In most cases, ticks usually attach themselves to the lower part of the waist (especially in any folds), and around the legs. When the tick is not removed on time, it causes rashes and itching, and this may cause your skin to become inflamed and red. The longer the tick spends on the body without removal it can trigger more complicated health issues such as hemorrhagic fever. Hemorrhagic fever is quite common in Eastern parts of Europe and Africa. Ticks can also carry spotted fever, such as African spotted fever. Ticks are also known to carry Lyme disease, which is quite common among animals reared in the woodland and forest regions.
There are several ways of removing ticks from humans. A simple home device such as fine-tip tweezers can be used. If you don’t have any tweezers, you can make use of fine pliers or something similar – just make sure that the device can grab the tick as close to the skin as possible in order to remove it. To make use of the tweezers effectively, simply use two fingers to hold the tweezers’ handle and then grip the tick, pulling it carefully upward with steady pressure. Do not jerk or twist the insect while pulling it out, as doing this may cause the mouth area of the insect to remain, eventually leading to further infection.
If you don’t remove the tick completely on the first pull, you can simply use the tweezers to remove the mouth of the insect after the first pull out. Once the tick has been removed, make sure you clean the bite area with an antiseptic soap or rubbing alcohol. Likewise, you must clean your hands with clean water and rubbing alcohol. The skin will heal by itself after few hours or days, depending on the extent of the bite. You can dispose of the live tick by simply submerging it in rubbing alcohol. Do not make any attempt to crush the insect with your fingers.
Do not wait for a tick to detach itself. Once the tick has been removed, you may require follow-up treatment, especially if you develop rashes or a fever following removal. You need to see a doctor for the right treatment to combat a fever, rash or any other skin condition that may have developed.
It is much better to prevent tick bites than having to remove the insect. The first preventive method you must take is to avoid grassy and woodland areas, where ticks can easily attach themselves to animals. If such areas cannot be avoided, then you must cover your body appropriately by wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and even a hat. You may even want to wear socks and tuck in your trouser legs into them. Keep in mind that it is easier to spot ticks on brightly-colored clothes; therefore, you should constantly look out for them if you have spent any length of time in woodlands and bushes.
How to Properly Remove a Tick Video
Sometimes, ticks may depend on rodents or pets to infest your home. You need to ensure that bushes and tall grasses are cleared. Likewise, you must remove wood piles and stone fences from your garden or yard. Make sure you eliminate any plant that may attract animals such as deer, raccoons or cows and make sure your pets don’t get to spend much time outdoors.