Tick Prevention & Removal
Tick season is now upon us in the Midwest and we have already seen quite a few of these critters. The most important thing that you can do after being outdoors (especially in wooded areas) is to perform a tick check. They like to hide in all kinds of crevices, so it is important to do a thorough check each time.
Since it is hard to spot ticks in dark or long hair, we always make sure to wear a hat when we are outdoors. Don’t forget to also wear a hat when you mow the lawn, as you may be mowing around a lot of trees.
If you are planning to be in an area with tall grass, it is best to wear light colored clothing and tall socks so it is easier to spot the ticks.
Making your own tick repellent is another inexpensive and easy way to help keep them away. You can use witch hazel as your base and then add in essential oils. My favorite oil to use in this repellent is rose geranium; many studies have shown that it is just as effective as DEET for repelling ticks. I also like to include lemon eucalyptus and cedarwood in my blend.
We talked prevention, now let's talk about how to remove one of those buggers if they become attached. The best tool to have on hand for removal is a tweezers; make sure to stash a pair in your first-aid kit, purse and vehicles. Grasp as close to the skin as possible to make sure that you remove the head. Pull upward with slow and steady pressure (don’t twist or jerk it) and the head should release along with a tiny bit of skin. You can clean the area with peroxide or rubbing alcohol. I also dab on a small dot of Mighty Salve to heal the area and to prevent infection.
There are times when you can’t get that close to the skin. I have removed a tick from black, thick coarse hair before that I was not able to get to with a tweezers. I ended up using a q-tip soaked in rose geranium essential oil and gently rubbed it on the back end of the tick. It took more time, but eventually it released and backed out.
If you ever you notice anything around the area develop such as a rash or experience flu-like symptoms, it is best to check with your doctor.