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5 Myths About Ticks—Busted!

Smothering a tick is the best way to remove it, right? Wrong! Find out why, along with other misconceptions in our breakdown of five myths about ticks.

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Myths about ticksPhoto: Shutterstock

Myth: Smothering a tick is the best way to remove it

Fact: The only really suitable removal procedure involves tweezers. Attempting to burn or suffocate a tick can actually stress it and cause a greater release of saliva. Follow this tick removal guide for step-by-step instructions.

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Removing tick with tweezerPhoto: Shutterstock

Myth: It’s dangerous to leave the head behind when you remove a tick

Fact: If a piece is left in your skin, it’s likely the mouth—ticks don’t have separate heads. Wash your skin with soap and water, and if the mouth doesn’t come out easily, don’t worry—it will work its way out on its own.

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Black-legged tick on green leafPhoto: Shutterstock

Myth: All ticks carry Lyme disease

Fact: In Canada, blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks, according to Health Canada) are thought to be the only ones that have the bacteria that cause Lyme, and not all of them are carriers.

Here’s what you need to know about lyme disease in Canada.

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Tick on human skinPhoto: Shutterstock

Myth: As soon as a carrier bites you, 
you’ve got Lyme disease

Fact: It takes at least 24 to 36 hours to transmit the bac­teria, so if the tick has been attached for only a few minutes or hours, you won’t develop an infection.

Here are more facts about Lyme disease you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Bull's eye rash from Lyme diseasePhoto: Shutterstock

Myth: You need a bull’s eye rash for 
a diagnosis of Lyme disease

Fact: Up to 80 per cent of patients will get a rash at 
the site of the bite, but it only sometimes looks 
like a bull’s eye.

Sadly, Lyme disease isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. Get to know more tick borne diseases and the warning signs to watch for.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada