Oklahoma State Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources–
Summer is the most active season for ticks, so it’s important for Oklahomans to be familiar with preventative measures and what to do if bitten.
In the event one or more ticks slip past the barrier of protection, use tweezers to grasp and pull it out with slow and steady pressure.
“Adult ticks also can be pulled out by hand with slow, steady force,” Talley said. “However, smaller ticks, such as seed ticks or nymphs, should be pulled out with tweezers. Don’t yank the tick out or put any kind of substance or liquid, such as Vaseline, bleach or alcohol, on the tick.”
Once an attached tick has been removed, it is a good idea to seal it in a plastic bag and save it in the event symptoms develop.
Talley recommends keeping the tick for about a month so that if symptoms develop, the specific tick can be identified, which may help with treatment.
“The important thing is to dispose of ticks properly and not just throw them out in the yard,” Talley said. “Even if you squeeze some of the blood out, those ticks can survive and lay eggs.”
Ticks can pass on illnesses such as ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Bourbon virus, Heartland virus and Spotted Fever Group rickettsiosis, which includes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
“Anyone who is going outside where there will be ticks is at risk for getting bitten, but we tend to see a higher risk of tick-borne illness in those who are outside on a regular basis, such as landscapers, and individuals in production agriculture, such as cattle owners and horse owners,” Talley said.
After spending time outdoors but before heading indoors or getting into a car, people should check carefully to ensure no ticks are hitching a ride. Brush off unattached ticks from the body and clothing.