QHEALTH – Ticks are common in Costa Rica. The best prevention is observation. Ticks (garrapatas in Spanish) hang out near livestock, but can be found anywhere outdoors, particularly in rural and forested areas.
To prevent tick bites wear long sleeves, long pants, hats and shoes (rather than sandals). Boots are preferable, with pants tucked in wooded areas or tall grass.
Ticks can transmit a variety of diseases. Many tick-borne illnesses can be prevented by prompt tick removal. Ticks don’t bite right away, the majority can be flicked off while they’re still walking around looking for the best spot for lunch.
After enjoying the outdoors check yourself (and your kids carefully), ideally in the shower and remove any that you find.
There are several ways to remove a tick. Important is that you remove the entire tick, leaving part of the tick in the skin can be an irritation for many weeks and may even lead to requiring a visit to the clinic.
Ticks bury their heads into your skin. One of the most common recommended method of removing a tick is using slow gentle pressure with a pair of tweezers gripping the head as close to your skin as possible and pull gently but steadily.
Another method, less traumatic is to apply a small amount of liquid soap on a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap soaked cotton ball, lot it for a few seconds ( 15-20 ) and the tick will spontaneously detach and stick to the cotton as you remove it.
A variation of the above is using a cotton swab. Soak with liquid soap (or just plain water is no soap is available), rub the swab firmly in circles several times, until the tick lets go.
Important in the above or any other method you use is to dispose of the tick properly. After pulling it from the skin it may seem dead, but, it a tricky insect, it probably is only stunned and ready to bite again. You or someone else.
Dispose of a live tick by submerging it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
And please don’t forget about your four legged friends. They need your help. An infected tick will lead to their…
After removing the tick, watch for symptoms. Some ticks can spread diseases If the victim develops these symptoms see your doctor;
- Fever or chills
- Headaches, muscle aches, or joint pain
- A rash, especially a large red “bulls eye” rash
- Swollen lymph nodes, usually in the armpit or groin
Wikihow has great info on How to Kill a Tick