Knowing how to remove them is good but preventing them is better.
A Marine corpsman at Camp Lejeune gave me one of those "I cannot recommend this but it works <wink> <wink> <wink>" pieces of advice several years ago during a field exercise. If you tear the head off a paper match and take it like an aspirin, the sulfur in the match head will come out in your sweat. Apparently the ticks don't like the sulfur and will not bite you. I'll admit it; ticks creep me out. I figured if one match head is good, then two must be better, so I popped two match heads per day that I was out in the woods.
Literally dozens of guys who either did nothing or used the military issue preventative cream were reporting to the corpsmen for tick removal every day. I flicked numerous ticks off my BDU's and flicked one off my stomach (just crawling) after undressing one night but did not have a single one bite me in the two weeks we were out in the woods.
I cannot vouch for the safety of this practice, only its efficacy. If I'm going out in the woods where I expect ticks, I take paper matches.
'Blousing' your pants is the military term for tucking the bottoms in your boots or sock tops.
Looks silly but works great!
I'm a Paris Island Marine (inactive) and I can vouch for the Matches. I used to suck on wooden stick matches,
(kept me from wanting a cigarette so bad!)
And an older Viet-Nam era Marine asked me if I was trying to keep the ticks off...
Once informed, I never failed to have some matches with me when I went to the field!
For the layman, Find an insect repellant with 'DEET' in the mix, the higher the concentration the better!
Spray anyplace (except for face and eyes) you think a tick might want to munch on you...
DEET works like no other bug repellant I've ever used, including the military issued stuff.
There is a 'Bug Spray' out there that you have to spray on your cloths first, and let it dry.
DO NOT SPRAY ON YOUR SKIN!
Cloths only, and it MUST be dry before you dress,
The active ingredient is Permethrin and sold under the brand name "PERMANONE", and you can even wash the cloths or blankets, or what ever a couple of times and this stuff will still work once it soaks in and dries.
It will protect up to two weeks in continuous use outdoors, and will live through washings and rain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permethrin
Tick removal when you get them, is fairly stright forward.
Most of the time you get a good grip on the little vampire and pull it off.
Do not 'Scrape' the tick off, same with not 'Shaving' the tick off with a knife.
Some people think ticks are like leeches and will leave mouth parts in/under the skin if they are pulled off by hand.
This hasn't been the case in my experience, and I'm a country kid that has dealt with a LOT of ticks!
Some people like to heat up a pair of tweezers, or hemostats, or needle nose pliers and touch the tick.
A hot match head will do the same job, let the match burn a few seconds, blow it out & immediately touch the hot head to the tick, SHE will usually let go.
Touching a drop of gasoline to the body of the tick will make it let go also.
My mother used fingernail polish remover to get them off...
If you look just behind their heads, you can see the breathing hole for them, anything really nasty on that breathing hole will make them let go in short order...
Mom used clear nail polish to seal over chiggers when they chewed their way into our skin.
Chiggers bury themselves in the layers of skin, and suck blood...
...AND ITCH LIKE CRAZY!
Seal over the area, they can't get any air, and they die where they are, or so I've always been told.
The nail polish also helps with the itching somewhat.
With chiggers or mosquito bites, I've found that a drop of ammonia/alcohol will kill the chigger, and help dry up the bite and keep it from getting infectd,
And it makes the bites feel better, relieves itching somewhat.
I'm allergic to bee stings and a lot of bug bites
(mosquitoes and chiggers will raise a blister/welt the size of a silver dollar on me, and bee stings will kill me if not treated quickly)
So I'm never without bug repellant to keep them off,
(the industrial strength prescription kind most of the time)
to lessen the allergic reactions when I get bit,
And spot treatment to keep the site from swelling up/blistering.
Ammonia/Rubbing Alcohol in equal parts works good for killing the chiggers in place and keeping them from swelling or causing infections,
And it's good for treating other bug bites.
Doesn't get along to well with a healthy sun burn though!
Several years ago, I saw many telephone repairmen sitting in the tall weeds, repair/splicing wires. Curosity got the best of me, and I asked what they were wearing to stop all the little critters from crawling and biting.
Almost to a man, their universal answer was PERMANONE!!!
Since then, we are never without a bottle of it. We will spray the bottom of our pants legs, both inside and out, as well as the belt line. You have to get the material wet, and hang it out to dry, before wearing it. But, it's good for 3 or 4 washings, before it's gone. Believe me, IT WORKS. Can be bought at Wal-Mart, or a sporting goods store.
Ticks secrete a glue-like adhesive to anchor themselves to you once biting. Many people try to remove them by pulling, but get discouraged and resorts to more dangerous methods. They can be removed by grabbing their body with tweezers, and firmly pulling. They won't immediately let go, due to the adhesive. keep steadily pulling, and the tick will eventually come out.
I just removed one from my wife's back recently using this method, and it worked fine.
We had a psych patient come in with one on his ear (he said he was hearing voices) and I cleaned the area with Chloraprep (a disinfectant we use) and grabbed the little sucker by his head and pulled. Not a piece of him left in the ear, but a tiny piece of the ear came with him. The voices stopped after i removed the tick (this is not a joke). We cleaned it and put an antibiotic cream on it and it healed well. I'm not sure if the voices ever came back, but we haven't seen him again.
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