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Ticks are parasites which can bury themselves in a person's skin and inject a poison which can cause muscle weakness, blurred vision, drowsiness, paralysis and even death. They can be as tiny as a pinhead or a large as a fingernail.

The best way to avoid them is to wear long trousers (preferably tucked into socks or boots), long-sleeved shirts and a hat when you're in a bushy area. After being outdoors, check the whole family for ticks, especially in places like the scalp, groin, armpits, and back of the knees. Because ticks are sometimes hidden by swelling around the bite, it's important to check any lumps carefully.

The best way to remove an attached tick is to use tweezers with a fine point. Grasp the tick behind the head, as close to the skin as possible. Gently pull the tick straight out with steady pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick. Don't try to kill the tick before removal by using methylated spirits, nail polish remover, alcohol, petroleum jelly, or anything else - this can make the tick inject more poison. After removing the tick, wash your hands and disinfect the tweezers and the bite.

If you have trouble, seek medical help and have the tick surgically removed. Seek medical attention for allergic reactions or unusual symptoms.

Source: NSW Health

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Last updated
6 June 2011