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The other answers that detail how to remove ticks from the scalp prescribe combing through the hair carefully, however with afro hair this is not possible, especially with locs (dreadlocks). What should someone with afro hair do in an environment with ticks?

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    By afro hair, do you mean the specific hairdo, or the type of hair itself? The term gets used for both. Dec 1, 2022 at 7:23
  • I would naïvely expect that if you can't get to the scalp, neither could the tick, but I don't have any evidence either way.
    – jcaron
    Dec 1, 2022 at 17:40
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    @jcaron Oh, trust me, a tick can go anywhere on the human body it wants to go whether you can or not. Some species are smaller than a poppy seed. Dec 6, 2022 at 5:14

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I can't give an answer from experience with an Afro, but although I have had many, many ticks over the years, I haven't had any on my scalp, that I know of. I am very sensitive to the itching of a tick when it burrows in -- that is how I find my ticks -- so I am pretty confident that I haven't had any on my scalp.

To what do I attribute a tick-free scalp? I cover my hair completely with a scarf or a small towel -- sort of like a turban -- when I am working in the garden or my woods. I might find several itching spots a day after a long session working outdoors, and -- voila -- ticks! But over many years, none have been on the scalp. So, my answer is that prevention is most of the battle. You might also consider spraying your turban-like covering with permethrin. @Ian Campbell says permethrin is preferable to DEET for ticks. See his comment, below.)

As for what to do if your scalp develops an itch, I have found that it is easy to feel the tick with my fingertip even if I can't see it. So you might be able to localize the tick by touch and then guide a friend with tweezers to the tick. No matter what kind of hair you have, you will need help.

If you don't feel the itch -- not everybody does -- I don't know what to say.

PS I live in an area -- Northern Virginia -- with lots of ticks.

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    Thank you! That's very helpful regarding prevention. I plan to cover my hair completely in that case. Nov 30, 2022 at 3:08
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    I've always heard "check your head for ticks", but of the many many ticks I've removed over the years, I've never had them on my head either. I've never taken any special precautions for my head. The places where I find the most ticks are at the tops of my socks, on my legs, and in my waistband. I think it's probably rare for ticks to be questing at head level. Nov 30, 2022 at 15:12
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    @WaterMolecule: IME, it's rare but not unheard of. I run summer camps in an area with a fairly high tick population. I've personally found a tick attached to the top of my head after sleeping outdoors with no tent (on a smooth bare rock, proof that they don't just hide in grass, either) and one of the most awkward spots I've had to remove a tick from was a child's eyelid(!). Fortunately it came off cleanly, quickly and painlessly using a tick remover tool, because I would not have wanted to try getting it off with tweezers if the remover tool failed. Dec 1, 2022 at 11:36
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    I would consider using permethrin in place of DEET for clothing. I believe permethrin is more effective for tick prevention. It's certainly less likely to melt your head gear if made of synthetic materials. Dec 1, 2022 at 14:19
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I live in an area with lots of ticks and I've had many attach to me over the years, including on my scalp. I never use a comb. I find them by feel and then remove them with my fingers. A tick can be distinguished from a mole or other bump easily even if you can't see it because a tick can be flipped back and forth.

I can't imagine any reason why someone with afro hair couldn't do the same.

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  • +1 for describing how a tick is easily distinguished by touch from a bump.
    – ab2
    Dec 1, 2022 at 21:17
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    The reason I am concerned is noticing it initially. Did you locate the tick because of a sensation (e.g. itchiness) or was it purely visual? The latter is what would make it very challenging with afro hair Dec 2, 2022 at 16:39
  • @MaheshSundaram Relying on feeling them or seeing them on your scalp is completely unreliable even if you have straight hair. I run my fingers through my hair over my entire scalp feeling for them. Anyone can do that no matter what kind of hair they have. Dec 2, 2022 at 19:05
  • @MaheshSundaram Huh? I'm not dismissing anything. I'm just saying if you can feel your scalp you can find ticks without being able to see them, and I know that people with afro hair can feel their scalp. Dec 3, 2022 at 22:16

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