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Health Tips for May 28

Posted May 27 2009 10:39pm

Health Tip: Taking Care of a Tick Bite

If you or your child has been bitten by a tick, there's probably little risk of disease, but it's still important to remove the tick properly and protect the area from infection.

The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital offers these suggestions for taking care of a tick bite:

  • To remove a wood tick, use a pair of tweezers, pull straight up, and pull the tick out. You can use a needle, some thread, or your fingers if you don't have tweezers.
  • To remove a deer tick, use your fingernail or the edge of a credit card to scrape the tick from the skin.
  • Make sure the tick's head is removed. Wash the skin with rubbing alcohol and uncover the tick's head with a sterile needle. Then use the needle to remove the head.
  • Thoroughly wash the area with soap and water, then apply an antibiotic ointment.
  • Call the doctor if you can't get the tick out, a fever or rash develop, or you notice signs of infection including significant redness or yellow drainage.

Health Tip: When Another Person Bites You

A human bite can lead to a dangerous infection, just as an animal bite can.

About one-third of hand infections are caused by human bite wounds, which can be loaded with bacteria, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons warns.

The academy offers these guidelines for treating a human bite wound, even one that doesn't look serious:

  • Never put your mouth on the bite, as you can expose the wound to more bacteria.
  • If the skin has not been broken, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, or an antiseptic cleanser.
  • Rub an antibiotic ointment on the area and cover it with a bandage.
  • Any wound that appears to have caused internal damage should be examined by a doctor. For bites that are bleeding, apply steady pressure, elevate the area, and immediately seek medical attention.
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