KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It’s tick season in East Tennessee. Ticks can be found nearly everywhere and carry harmful germs which can make us sick. If you spot a tick a child you should not panic, but removing it properly is important.
Dr. Amit Patel with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most common tick-borne disease the hospital sees. Lyme disease is also seen, but not as often.
Signs and symptoms of tick-borne illness include a red dot-like rash with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a bullseye shaped rash with Lyme disease, or flu like symptoms including fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting and muscle or joint aches.
To properly remove a tick, use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at the head or mouth next to the skin. Pull firmly and steadily, straight out, until the tick lets go. Wash hands and the area of bite with soap and water. Swab the bite site with alcohol.
Never twist the tick or rock it from side to side when removing with tweezers. Part of the tick can remain in the skin. Never use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove a tick. These methods don’t get the tick off the skin and can actually cause it to burrow deeper.
To prevent tick bites, use tick repellent for clothes or skin. Always follow the instructions for safe application and never use it on infants. After being outdoors, check for ticks, change clothes and take a shower.