Removing Ticks, Stingers and Bandaging Fingertips Made Easy
Encountering minor ailments and injuries while camping or hiking is par for the course. However, dealing with them in the field isn't that difficult, and you don't need a lot of experience or skill. Let's take a look at a few tricks that are worth keeping in the back of your mind the next time you encounter a tick bite, insect sting or a cut or burn on your fingertip.
Tick removal can be tricky. On one hand, you need to pull it off of your skin, but you need to do it in a way that won't squish the tick in the process. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating further injury or unintentionally exposing yourself to one of many diseases that ticks carry. One method is to pour a few drops of vegetable oil over the tick and skin before tying some thread around the tick between the head and body.
Take the thread and make a loop that starts from beneath the neck. Pull the ends of the string up and cross them over as you do when you start to tie a shoelace. Gently pull the ends tight so that it closes in on the neck before carefully pulling the strings up and back in order to lift the tick off the skin. The vegetable oil will help to suffocate the tick, and pulling up will help to preserve the tick for testing.
It's a lot faster and easier to test the tick for disease instead of waiting for antibodies to grow and become detectable in the human body. Just store the tick in a small container or wrap it a band aid or some tape until you go to the doctor.
While many people suggest that you use a pair of tweezers to remove a stinger, squeezing it can actually release more venom into the body. A better alternative is to use the edge of a debit or credit card to gently scrape it off of the skin. You can also use your fingernail if it's long enough. Place the long side of the card at a 45 degree angle against the skin, and scrape in the direction of the end that's sticking out. It may take a swipe or two, but you should be able to get that stinger out with ease while minimizing further injury and discomfort.
One of the biggest annoyances associated with bandaging fingertip cuts is that they slide off very easily. You can eliminate this problem altogether by making a couple of modifications to the band aid. First, cut the adhesive on either side of the padding in half lengthwise so you end up with four flaps. Place the padding atop the wound and criss-cross the flaps of adhesive so they form an X. This will help to secure the bandage in place while making it less obtrusive at the same time.
These are just a few more examples of simple tricks that can make life a lot easier when things go wrong in the field. Keep these in the back of your mind, and always keep eye open for new ideas that you can use to your advantage as well.