Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: FA Kits/Ticks
Re: FA Kits/Ticks
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 16:26:41 -0600
I guess there's gonna be a thread here. ;-)
I don't have my manual here, but my Wilderness First Aid indicates a pair of
tweezers is the appropriate tool to use for the removal of ticks. Now, keep in
mind that this book is designed for attending to victims in a situation in
which medical care will not be available for some time, as opposed to being
able to drag the victim away from a MB class to go to the camp's medical
facility. In other words, this is training for how to treat injuries and
illness when _you_ are the only source of medical assistance for perhaps one
day to a week . . . when you're _really_ in the "outback."
The key is understanding how to use the tool. The instructions are fairly
simple -- to read -- but not necessarily to put into action. The tweezers are
not used to grasp the tick's body, per se, but to grasp the tick immediately
behind the head, just where it enters the skin. At this point, the body
(typically, but not always) widens just above where you grasp with the
tweezers. Do not squeeze with the tweezers, but hold both tips against the
tick's forebody and gently and steadily pull the tick backward -- don't yank or
the head will come off in the skin. In this manner, the tweezers aren't
'squishing' the tick, but pulling backward against the widening portion of its
When properly handled, tweezers will not cause the introduction of foreign
matter into the body. But it _is_ quite easy to mishandle the tweezers.
Jim's method would probably be frowned upon by a medical practitioner. As I
understand his description, it seems to be essentially the same as using
tweezers. That is, using the edge of the knife to push gently but steadily
against the forebody of the tick just behind the head. With a knife, there
would be, I should think, some increased risk of cutting the body off and
leaving the head embedded in the skin. There is, of course, the inherent risk
of cutting the skin, too.
Follow up with any tick bite if you're in an area where they are known to carry
disease such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In fact, it is advisable to
follow up with appropriate medical aid when you do not know that the ticks in
the area are free of human-communicable disease.
Jim Peterson wrote:
> Jan wrote in response to Ginny's request for what a summer camp FA kit
> should include:
> [snip] And if you
> >mean by "tick extracter" a pair of pointy tweezers, it will do double duty
> >for splinters if you get the narrow points. Slant points are OK and
> >cheaper, but for a kit get narrow points.
> I wouldn't recommend any
> type of instrument that grabs the tick by the body (not that you did). But
> most tweezers aren't designed to do much else. As I have been instructed,
> this method of removing the tick virtually makes the tick a syringe,
> emptying the body fluid of the tick into the bite victim. Not good. I
> have personally found that one of the best methods of removing ticks is to
> use your good ol' sharp pocket knife and simply "scrape" the tick off. If
> your knife is sharp, this catches the tick right at the point of skin level
> and pulls him out, head-first. Other "old tyme" methods such as using oil
> substances or alcohol to get the tick to release can result in the tick
> "vomiting" into the victim....again, not good.
Kip Keil, Sr. Programmer, V i s i o n N e t
http://www.vsnet.com | http://kip.vsnet.com
MC, Ad Hoc P-3055; MC, Advancement T-1022; MC, Ad Hoc T-175
AA, Ceremonies Tsah Dibe Chapter, El-Ku-Ta 520,
Great Salt Lake Council, BSA . . . . . "I used to be a bear . . . "
--We all learn from history . . .
...either by study, or by repetition.
-- Kip Keil, 1998