Finding a tick on yourself or a family member can cause a lot of anxiety and for good reason. Ticks carry Lyme disease and a host of other tick-borne illnesses. The trouble is knowing when to worry and how to assess your risk. After pulling a tick off myself, I was immediately apprehensive. I did not know exactly how long it was there, what kind of tick it was, and how concerned I should be. The waiting and worrying about symptoms is unsettling, especially during these times. Luckily, I was alerted to TickEncounter Resource Center! It is a simple and free service through the University of Rhode Island that can identify your tick and give you an idea as to how at-risk you are for contracting Lyme or another tick-borne illness. The process is simple, fast, and free. Here is how it works:
TickSpotters help keep track of tick activity across North America
You, and your pets can help monitor tick population trends and tickborne disease risk. TickEncounter is keeping track of tick encounters, and we need all of the TickSpotters we can get! Thousands of citizen scientists like yourself are submitting REAL data that’s helping drive tick awareness tools like TickEncounter’s Current Tick Activity app.
You’ve just found or removed a tick from yourself or a pet. Your first thought is to flush it down the toilet or cause untold carnage upon it. STOP! SAVE your tick! It’s the first step towards peace of mind. Next step, TAKE A PICTURE.
TAKE A PICTURE
TAKE A PICTURE of your tick and SUBMIT it to TickEncounter. If you’re having trouble identifying your tick TickEncounter is here to help. Make sure you check out our Tick Identification Guide and learn what we look for. Next step, IDENTIFY your tick.
Identifying your tick correctly is crucial. There are different life stages and different species of ticks, each with varying risk of carrying tickborne disease. You can use TickEncounter’s Tick Identification Chart to IDENTIFY your SAVED tick. Next step, SUBMIT your tick.
TickSpotters SUBMIT their tick picture, along with the date the tick was found. This information feeds into our Current Tick Activity app that helps drive tick awareness. You also may want to SUBMIT your tick to a Tick Testing lab that will determine if the tick is carrying a tickborne disease.
This information comes from https://tickencounter.org/tickspotters
Here is the link to submit the tick photo: https://tickencounter.org/tickspotters/submit_form
I received my email within 24 hours of my submission with details about the type of tick I had encountered and an idea of how at risk I may be. Of course, it is still necessary to monitor for symptoms. However, this service alleviated my worry and was easy to use. You can also submit a tick to the lab for testing if there is a need for further investigation. Follow this link for more details about sending ticks to the lab: https://tickencounter.org/tick_testing