As the weather has been getting warmer and we have been outside more, I have been watching out for ticks. There are a lot of old wives tales on how to remove ticks that can actually be harmful. I did a lot of research on how to safely remove a tick and most this information came from the CDC website, an entomologists website, and the Quick Reference Guide for using Essential Oils.
Some basic information about ticks: Ticks are not insects, they are actually arachnids which are close cousins of spiders, scorpions, and mites. They feed on blood and after becoming engorged, they drop off their hosts to molt, mate, or lay eggs. We attract ticks by our movement, body heat, and the carbon dioxide and lactic acid our bodies give off.
Contrary to popular belief, do NOT apply oil, petroleum jelly, ointment, soap or any other irritating substance on a tick. This will cause the tick to regurgitate it's stomach contents into you, increasing the likelihood that germs will be transmitted.
Do NOT burn it off with a match or cigarette. Like oil, heat will irritate the tick and cause it to vomit inside of you. Burning off a tick is also a bad idea because even though the tick will die, the mouth parts will still be inside of you and possibly cause infection.
Do NOT squeeze the tick. Doing this will cause the tick to act like a hypodermic needle and you will inject yourself with tick saliva, gut contents, blood, and any disease germs it is carrying.
1. To remove a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers and grab the tick as close to the head as possible, be sure not to squeeze it. If you need to use your hands, cover them up with a tissue. Pull upward with steady even pressure until it releases it's grip, be patient. Don't twist or jerk, this can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove as much of the mouth parts as possible with tweezers. Use a magnifying glass if needed. (After researching online, there are tick removal tools you can buy.)
2. Do not handle the tick and wash your hands immediately afterwards.
3. After getting the tick out, wash the bite area and apply 1 drop of lavender essential oil every 5 minutes for 30 minutes to kill any bacteria and prevent infection. (Other oils you can use are basil, cinnamon bark, lemon, sage, thyme. All have antitoxic properties.)
4. Save the tick in a jar with rubbing alcohol, label it with the date, where you were bitten, and location or address where you were bitten for proper identification by your doctor. This is a precaution if you develop any symptoms. Knowing the kind of tick you were bitten by will help doctors to know what disease you may have transmitted. Only a portion of ticks in the wild harbor germs, so the probability of a single tick bite leading to disease is relatively low. Don’t panic if you or your children are bitten by a tick. Ticks can only transmit the disease if they feed on you, or if they are smashed and their body fluids are rubbed into a wound.
To purchase lavender essential oil, go to: mydoterra.com/samtaggart