Many common ailments have extensive histories of “snake oil,” cures and treatments. Many so-called “treatments” are unhealthy, or even dangerous. Here are some old wives’ tales regarding the tick.
The tick is a pest found around the globe. If they aren’t directly on us, they’re on our pets, in our yards, and even in the trees. People can be bitten by simply walking under a low-hanging branch at the right moment. These bloodsuckers are more than just parasites. They can be dangerous. Ticks commonly carry such diseases as Lyme Disease, Relapsing Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Colorado Tick Fever, or even Tick Paralysis.
The misinformation concerning ticks can be just as dangerous. Old wives’ tales are notorious for spreading just that. Don’t touch the tick with a match, curling iron, or a cigarette. Don’t coat the pest with sports or arthritis ointments, fingernail polish, petroleum jelly, Kayro syrup, honey, cooking oil, kerosene, paint thinner, brake fluid, liquid soap, laundry detergent, or bleach. These methods require you to wait for the tick to unlatch by coating the parasite in an attempt to smother or suffocate it.
Do not do this.
You simply need to remove the pest immediately. Due to the number of diseases these pests carry, it’s imperative that you get it off your body as rapidly as possible. Some of the aforementioned tricks do work, but they actually force the tick to vomit. Considering the tick has burrowed its head into your skin, you do not want it releasing any bacteria or microbes from its system into your body.
The safest method of removing a tick involves nothing more than a pair of thin, clean tweezers. Grasp the tick right next to the skin and firmly remove. Once the tick is gone, make sure nothing remains of the pest. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that if the tick’s mouth remains in your skin, just leave it, and let the skin heal. It will come out naturally. It’s also recommended to cleanse the area thoroughly once the tick is removed. The CDC recommends rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or lots of soap and water for cleansing the skin surrounding the bite.
If you have a question regarding the tick, put it in a zipper bag to take to your health authority. If you experience fevers or rashes within a few weeks of removing the tick, see your doctor.
Much of our folklore in America involves the tick in some fashion. There’s a belief held, by our European ancestors, that garlic doesn’t only repel vampires, it repels ticks. The Navajo and Sanpoils Native Americans both have legends regarding the tick’s origins.
- “Tick Removal” CDC.gov, 14 Dec. 2017, https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html
- “Ticks: How to Avoid and Remove Ticks – Overview” Webmd.com, 12 Dec. 2017, https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/how-to-remove-a-tick-overview#1
- “How NOT to Remove a Tick” Tickencounter.org, 12 Dec. 2017, http://www.tickencounter.org/prevention/how_not_to_remove_a_tick