Tick Time + Treatment Too

Reports of illness spread by tick bites are up in Alabama.

From a UAB News Release:

UAB Researchers say there has been a significant increase in tick borne diseases in Alabama:



How to remove a tick and prevent bites

Walter Schrading, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Office of Wilderness Medicine says, if you find a tick on yourself or a loved one, there is no need to panic. “Removing the tick can be accomplished quite effectively and quickly with a set of fine-tipped tweezers,” he said.

The CDC recommends taking the following steps to remove a tick:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers 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 the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  • Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

Walter Schrading, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Office of Wilderness Medicine says never crush a tick with fingers, and avoid folklore remedies like using nail polish, heat or petroleum jelly to encourage the tick to detach from the skin. “It’s best to remove the tick as quickly as possible,” he said.

As for avoiding tick bites, Schrading says the best methods to employ are using insect repellents containing DEET or permethrin and wearing long pants and socks if tick habitats including the woods and brushy areas cannot be avoided.

“After hiking or walking through the woods or thick brushy areas, always perform tick checks,” Schrading said. “Look in and around the hair and ears, under the arms, inside the belly button, the backs of the knees, between the legs, and around the waist.”

 “It is important to realize that, for the tick to actually transmit disease, it typically needs to be attached for about 24 hours or become engorged,” said Schrading, who is also an associate professor in UAB’s School of Medicine. “If a tick is crawling on the skin or is quickly removed, the chance of transmission of any infectious disease is extremely unlikely. However, after removing an engorged tick, one should be aware of flu-like symptoms, fever or rash in the following two to three weeks and seek treatment if this develops.”


  • A red spot or rash near the bite site, often in the form of a bull’s-eye
  • A full body rash
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Muscle or joint pain or achiness
  • Fever



Categories: Montgomery Metro, Statewide