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Tips from China CDC: How to deal with tick bites

Updated: Apr 12, 2022 Print
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When the weather gets warmer, ticks enter their peak season.

1.What are ticks?
Ticks can suck blood and usually parasitize on the body surface of rats and livestock. They are generally reddish brown or grayish brown in color and long oval in shape, with a flat back and abdomen. When not sucking blood, ticks are only the size of sesame seeds to rice grains. After sucking blood, they grow round like soybean grains or even larger. Tick activity enters its peak every spring.

2.Ticks infect many places
Ticks live in grass, bushes or where trees are lush, as well as on the surface of animals. You may come into contact with ticks after walking dogs outdoors, camping, gardening, picking tea, farming or hunting. Sometimes people are infected with ticks in courtyards or communities.

Ticks generally parasitize on the parts of animals with thin skin that are not easily scratched, such as a person’s scalp, waists, armpits, groins and the parts below the ankles.

3.Danger of ticks
Ticks often spread pathogens (viruses, bacteria and parasites) by biting and sucking blood, making people and animals sick.

But being bitten by ticks does not necessarily lead to disease. Generally, tick bites can cause symptoms such as allergic reaction, ulcers or inflammation; these are mostly mild. Sometimes they can also cause serious diseases, such as fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (a viral disease).

Early detection and treatment can slash the severe disease rate and mortality rate.

4.Do a good job of protection

When we have to enter grassland, forests and other places mainly inhabited by ticks, we can do the following to protect ourselves:

Wear long-sleeved clothes to cover bare skin;

Tighten trouser legs or tuck them into socks or shoes to prevent ticks from penetrating through the gap;

Wear light-colored clothes, which can make any ticks attached to the body more visible;

Do not wear sandals;

Do not hang clothes on grass and trees to prevent ticks from adhering to them;

Check carefully before entering the house to prevent taking ticks home through clothes and pets.

5.How to deal with tick bites

Whether ticks are found on human or animal bodies, or on the wall or ground, do not touch them hands or crush them, but clamp them with tools like tweezers.
You should disinfect the tools used with iodine or alcohol after killing the ticks. If you are bitten by ticks, it is important to remove them as soon as possible.

Follow the procedure below:
Clamp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible with clean tweezers and pull it upward with a stable force. Do not twist or jerk the tick, which will cause the oral part of the tick to fall off and remain in the skin. You can also spray alcohol on the tick body first, and then remove it with pointed tweezers.

If the oral part falls off and remains in the skin, take it out with tweezers; if you can't take it out easily with tweezers, don't worry too much. Don't move and let the skin heal.

After removing ticks, clean the bite and hands with iodine, alcohol or soap and water thoroughly. You should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

After being bitten by ticks, if you feel unwell with fever, fatigue or headache, you should see a doctor and tell them about the situation, including the time and place where you were bitten.

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