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Tick Bites, First Aid

Ticks are 8-legged creatures (arachnids) that live in wooded and grassy areas. Ticks attach themselves to a human host as the person brushes past leaves, grass, etc – ticks do not jump or fall on a person. Once on a person, ticks move to a warm and moist location (eg, armpit, groin, back of the knee, hairline), where they burrow into the host's skin and feed off their blood.While most ticks are harmless, some carry disease and may transmit illness (eg, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever) to their host. Certain ticks can even inject venom that causes temporary paralysis in their host (called tick paralysis).First Aid GuideTo remove an embedded tick: Wash your hands. Clean tweezers by boiling them or by pouring antiseptic solution (eg, isopropyl alcohol) over them. With tweezers, grasp the tick as close to its head or mouth as possible, and pull it straight out with a slow and steady motion. Be careful not to leave the head embedded in the skin, and make sure all parts of the tick are completely removed. Note: Be sure to not twist the tick body as you pull it out. Wash the area completely with soap and water.After the tick has been completely removed, watch for approximately the next few weeks for signs of infection or illness, particularly if the tick was likely attached for over 24 hours. (See When To Seek Medical Care.)PreventionThe most important thing to consider regarding ticks is that prevention of tick bites is key. While in wooded areas, tall grass, or brush, consider doing the following: Wear long pants and long sleeves. Wear your socks over the outside of your pant legs. Tuck your shirt into your pants. Wear light-colored clothes so that ticks can easily be spotted. Spray your clothes and exposed skin with insect repellant. Frequently check your clothes and skin for ticks.It is important to remove a tick within 24 hours, if possible. Once home, remove your clothes and thoroughly inspect all skin surface areas. Don't forget your scalp! As ticks can be quite small, carefully evaluate all black or brown spots on the skin.

Bug Bites or Stings, First Aid

Bites or stings from insects (arthropods) are very common. Most reactions are mild and result due to an allergic reaction to either the insect or the toxins injected with the bite or sting. Some people have severe reactions to the stings of:Bees Wasps Hornets Yellow jackets These stings may require emergency help. The bites of most insects – such as ants, mosquitoes, flies, spiders, ticks, bugs, and mites – do not cause such a severe reaction.Sometimes, it may be hard to tell which type of insect has caused the skin lesions, as many insect reactions are similar. Flying insects tend to bite any exposed skin areas, while bugs such as fleas tend to bite the lower legs and around the waist and often have several bites grouped together. Some individuals are far more sensitive to insects and have more severe reactions, so the fact that no one else in the family has lesions does not rule out an insect bite.First Aid GuideFor stings:Bees may leave a stinger behind – Try to gently scrape off the stinger with a blunt object, such as a credit card. Wash the wound with soap and water. Apply an ice pack or cold water for a few minutes. Take acetaminophen for pain and an antihistamine (diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine) for itching, as needed.For insect bites:Wash with soap and water. Apply cool compresses. Use antihistamines to relieve itching and take acetaminophen for pain. 1% hydrocortisone cream may help reduce the itching. For ticks (still attached), see the first aid section on Tick Bites.

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