Pointy tweezers, not blunt-edged, are best for tick removal (see an example pictured to the right.) You can find them at most drugstores. If spend a lot of time outdoors or are planning a camping trip or a hike, I recommend picking up a pair.
To properly remove a tick, use pointy tweezers to gently grab the head, or as close as you can to the head. Do not squeeze! Do not twist! Just gently apply pressure and pull up very slowly. Here is an excellent video showing the proper removal of a tick:
*UPDATE: I was introduced to a product that's been on the market for several years, called the O'Tom Tick Twister. You can view it and, if you are interested, purchase it here . They have a great video on how it works. I'm ordering a few to have on hand and for family and friends!
Some people will see an erythema migrans, or round rash that expands outward, but many won't. Initial symptoms may include: flu-like symptoms, exhaustion, joint pain, headache, depression and fever. Since these symptoms can be applied to many illnesses, the correct diagnosis is often missed. Meanwhile, the bacteria buries deeper and deeper into the tissue, causing problems with the nervous system, joints, heart, brain and more. It becomes very difficult to treat at this point, so early detection is key.
Misdiagnosis and Advanced Lyme Disease
It is not uncommon for people to be unaware that they were even bit by a tick. This is why many, many people become chronically ill and don't know what is happening to them.
If Lyme Disease is caught quickly, it is treatable. If it is left untreated, people become very, very sick and it becomes exceedingly difficult to treat. Please spread the word so that others can learn how they can prevent Lyme Disease.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has Lyme Disease and you would like to get tested, contact your Primary Physician. If he or she refuses to test, which many do (as I've mentioned before), contact the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society or the Turn The Corner Foundation . These organizations will recommend a doctor in your area that is Lyme-Friendly and Lyme-Literate. Please let me know if you have any questions. I am here to help!
*If you have any other recommendations on this topic, please leave them in the comment section below.