How to Remove a Tick
Last week it became very obvious that we needed to move our overcrowded chickens onto a new pasture for grazing. They were looking a bit rough and needed to get access to fresh, growing, green things. So, we picked a day and started capturing chickens one by one. I held each one against my stomach as I clipped their wings then carried them out to an un-mowed pasture.
That night, as I stepped into a bath I discovered that I had been bitten by a tick. It already had a red ring bullseye around it, so my usual freak-out about ticks was even worse than normal. Being in the field that I am, I get questions all the time about how to treat Lyme’s disease. The folks who usually approached me were bitten long ago and are now dealing with the debilitating fallout. All I could think of was all of those people and the many things I know they have suffered; now I would be one of them!
I grabbed several of my books from the shelf, but everything was geared toward how to treat Lyme’s, or its co-infections, much further down the road. I wanted to know what to do right now to keep the infection from spreading, or even starting up, if possible. Eventually, I hit upon a plan and figured I’d share for anyone else who is dealing with one of these nasty critters.
Removing a Tick Once Bitten
Here are the things I did immediately after noticing the bite:
1. Removing the Tick
If you don’t know how to remove a tick, it is important not to squeeze the tick or separate its head from its body. I have seen great results with using a drop of lavender or a drop of peppermint essential oil to get the tick to pull out on its own. This didn’t work for me. I used a cotton swab to turn the tick in a circle until it was forced to remove itself.
A little reading from Stephen Buhner’s website will be of great help. Stephen Buhner is one of the herbalists that is doing some great work understanding tick-borne diseases. This link takes you to the page to read about the experiences of others who were recently bit and the advice they received.
3. Stay Calm
Tick borne diseases tend to attack the nervous system. For this reason, I needed to stay calm which was easier said than done. I used 15 drops of kava kava tincture for relaxation.
5. Draw Out Possible Infection
I made a drawing paste to apply to the bite site:
- Powdered Ingredients – equal parts green clay and plantain leaf powder
- Liquid Ingredient – Andrographis tincture
This paste can be made without the plantain, but I like its added drawing power. I put a pinch of the powder in a bowl and added drops of the tincture until it was spreadable. The paste is placed over the bite and then washed off with cool water when it dries. Repeat often. I covered the paste with a bit of plastic wrap and then added a heating pad to increase the drawing action.
6. Avoid Sugar
I cut all sugar out of my diet and began to eat very simply so as to give my body room to fight an infection.
7. Supplement With Astragalus
I began taking a large dose of Astragalus tincture. Buhner recommends 3,000 mg daily for the first month after a bite and then down to 1,000 mg from then on as a preventative. For the brand of tincture I chose that was 46 drops three times a day.
Additional Steps & Considerations
I chose to avoid the emergency room, but this is a very personal choice. We kept the tick in a jar and you should too if you can. If you choose to head for medical assistance, take the tick; they may be able to analyze what kind of diseases it is carrying. In most cases they will prescribe a course of antibiotics.
I drew a circle around the red bullseye. We monitored it often throughout each day. The treatment plan above worked for me and the redness never expanded beyond the original circle. In Lyme’s, if the infection takes hold you tend to get flu-like symptoms in the first 3-10 days. I didn’t experience those either.
Things to Keep in Mind…
Even though I chose to use a natural protocol, I was always prepared to seek medical attention if needed. Had I exhibited any further symptoms, or if the redness had spread, we would have gone for treatment. I have no confirmation as to what, if any, diseases the tick that bit me carried because I chose not to have it analyzed. Since the infection didn’t get out of hand and flood my system, I don’t expect repercussions.
Tick bites can be very serious. If you suspect you have been bitten and there are signs of a problem, it is important to treat the bite aggressively (in your manner of choosing). This summer, have a plan in place for what you will do if anyone in your family is bitten. Also, know your limits. If you choose to treat naturally, set metrics around your treatment plan and know when to head for professional attention.
I now have a plan and can save myself a few days of stress and panic in the future.
Do you know how to remove a tick? Have you ever been bitten by one? How did you handle it?