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How to prevent a tick bite

Tick bites may result in allergic reactions to the ticks themselves, including anaphylaxis, and, rarely, there have been fatalities.

Only adult ticks cause anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction). Allergy to proteins in the tick’s saliva is the cause of these reactions.

Tick anaphylaxis is very rare in countries other than Australia, but is not uncommon in tick-prevalent areas of Australia.

Crucially, people who suffer an anaphylactic reaction to a tick only do so when the tick is disturbed.

Local swellings at the site of a tick bite may be forerunner to the development of mammalian meat allergy or tick anaphylaxis.

Preventing a tick bite:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when walking or working in areas where ticks occur,
  • Tuck pants into long socks,
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat,
  • Wear light-coloured clothing,
  • Use insect repellent, particularly ones containing DEET.

View the video here

How to remove a tick?

If you are bitten by a tick, kill the tick where it is.

  • For small ticks (larvae and nymphs), use permethrin cream (available at pharmacies).
  • For adult ticks, freeze them with an ether-containing spray (available at pharmacies).
  • And remember, household tweezers are tick squeezers!
  • Avoidance of tick bites is the best option. This involves “dressing for the occasion” and the use of repellents.

View the video here

Read more about tick allergies at TIARA - Tick Induced Allergies Research and Awareness

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