Figure 5-13. Life cycle of the hard tick.
5-40. PERSONAL PROTECTION MEASURES
a. Avoidance and Removal. There is evidence that infected ticks do not
usually transmit RMSF until after they have teen on the host at least 4 to 6 hours. Thus
if persons in tick-infested areas examine their bodies frequently, and remove ticks
before they have been attached to the skin for as long as 4 hours, this will usually
preclude contracting the disease.
(1) Tick attached to the skin. When removing a tick attached to the skin, one
should take care not to crush it or leave the mouthparts imbedded in the skin. Crushing
the tick may contaminate the fingers and facilitate transmission of the rickettsiae.
(2) The removal process. Remove the tick by first relaxing it, then carefully
pulling it out with small forceps, grasping the tick as close to the mouthparts as possible.
Relax the tick by covering it for a minute or so with an alcohol-saturated tissue or cloth.
Nail polish remover or liquid insect repellent has also been used with
Relaxing the tick will cause it to withdraw its mouthparts at least
partially, facilitating its removal with a minimum of complications, or pain to the host.
-- CAUTION --
Avoid relaxing a tick with flame or heat, as this may directly
injure the host, as well as cause the tick to regurgitate
rickettsiae into the host.