Table of Contents
After reading this article, be sure to see our pictures of
Lyme Disease in our
The Deer and Lone Star tick are prevalent throughout Illinois,
and are both culprits in carrying Lyme Disease. They belong
to the class of Arachnida, which are related to spiders and
scorpions. They have three stages of growth, larva, nymph
and adult. The nymph is approximately the size of one number
on a penny, which makes them very difficult to detect. The
Lone Star tick has a white dot on its back, which is visible
to the naked eye, and that is usually seen in the adult stage.
You will not see the white dot during the nymph stage of development.
To quell some myths often associated with ticks, ticks do
not completely burrow beneath the skin. It is usually only
the head that is found under the superficial layer of the
skin. A tick has to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit
Lyme disease. Subsequently, if a tick is removed after being
in the field, one faces a greatly decreased risk of acquiring
Allergic reaction is a common side effect of tick bites.
There is usually redness at the area and itching for the next
24-72 hours. This should not be confused with erythema migrans,
the rash associated with Lyme Disease.
Not all individuals who contract Lyme disease will display
erythema migrans. Percentages vary, but generally, only 40-70%
of individuals diagnosed with Lyme disease will display this
rash, which typically presents with a central clearing, surrounded
by a bright red, fairly large rash area measuring anywhere
from 6-7 cm. or larger around the central clearing.
Antibiotics are very effective in treating early stages of
Lyme disease. If you are bitten in an area endemic to Lyme
disease, it would be prudent to see a health care provider
for assessment and treatment, if necessary.
As with mosquitoes, ticks find a host by seeking out carbon
dioxide that is excreted from the skin of all mammals. To
diminish the risk of a tick bite, it is best to employ more
than one approach including topical application of sprays
and appropriate clothing.
- Deet can be very effective in preventing ticks from attaching
by masking the carbon dioxide excretion. However, It is
Survive Outdoors’ experience that it is not 100% effective.
When using Deet, use at least 30% Deet, but no greater,
as it can cause skin reactions.
- Wear light-colored clothing when possible.
- Tuck your pants into your socks.
After being in the woods, always check your entire body for
any possible ticks. This includes ALL crevices. Having a loved
one carefully check your hair with a fine-toothed comb has
In removing a tick, DO NOT use fire. You do not have to cover
the tick with Vaseline or nail polish, as that will not increase
the speed in which the tick will back out and remove itself.
Simply grasp the tick with your fingers, and slowly pull on
the tick, at an angle 90 degrees away from the skin, and as
you very slowly pull, the tick will eventually let go. If
the head remains imbedded in the skin, tweezers can be used
to remove the head. If you encounter difficulty removing the
head, seek medical attention from a health care provider to
ensure the removal is complete.
Ticks belong to the class Arachnida, which are related to
spiders and scorpions. Ticks have three stages of growth,
larva, nymph, and adult. The photos here are that of adult
deer ticks in the midwest. The nymph tick is the size of one
numeral on the year of a penny, the adult is much bigger.
Lone Star Tick
White dot visible on back.
Wood Tick, Dermacentor, sp.
Also known as dog tick.
Adult Wood Tick
If bitten and the tick is still attached, slowly pull on
the tick with fingers or tweezers, careful not to crush the
tick's body. DO NOT burn the tick, or cover with fingernail
polish or other substances. The tick will let go, however,
if the head breaks loose simply use tweezers to remove it.
If the head is left in, an allergic reaction is common. Practically
all tick bites will result in some local allergic reaction
which result in severe itching. Topical over the counter hydrocortisone
works well to slow down the itching.