Lyme disease is a potentially life-changing infection caused by bacteria. In Indiana, it is transmitted by the black-legged tick. Fortunately, the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease takes at least 3 to 4 days to enter the body after the tick attaches.
If you go into the woods or fields when it is not winter, be sure to wear insect repellent and check for ticks as soon as you return. Change clothes quickly to remove any ticks that may not have been attached. (If you put clothes in the dryer this will kill any roaming ticks)
If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible. Some ticks are immature and very small (less than 2 mm) so be sure to be thorough. If you find a tick:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove mouth parts easily with clean tweezers, leave the area alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.