You want to remove a tick as soon as you find it. Do not wait as time is of the essence and the longer the tick sits on your skin the more attached it gets and the more opportunity to transmit a disease.
How to Remove a tick safely:
- With a fine tip tweezer (needle nose style if you have them – if not use what you have), grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. You want to grab the tick as close to his head/mouth as you can. The Best removal device is a Tick Key, if you have one use that instead of tweezers. If you do have a Tick Key follow these instructions.
- Pull the tick out with an upward direction. You need to use steady even pressure when pulling the tick out. Do not jerk or twist while removing the tick as this can cause the mouth part to break off releasing toxins into the skin. If the mouth part does break off, try to remove it with clean tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth just leave it and let the skin heal..
- Once the tick is removed, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol and/or soap and water.
- It may be a good idea to take a photo of before and after the removal of the tick to show your doctor. You may or may not need to see a doctor in the future.
- You may want to identify the type of tick you just removed by going to this tick identifier chart. If you have a tick that carries a lot of known diseases you may want to get a tick test.
Dispose of the Tick
You want to be sure you destroy the tick even if you are out in the wilderness as these nasty critters will latch onto another victim if not killed.
- Never crush a tick – this can leave the contaminated blood or saliva of the tick on your fingers
- Put the tick in rubbing alcohol – this should kill it
- Flush it down the toilet or Place it in a sealed bag or container and wrap the bag/container in tape
Follow up after Removing the tick
- If you develop a rash or fever several days to weeks after a tick bite contact your doctor
- Tell you doctor about your recent tick bite. Remember the location of the bite, the date of the bite, and the likely location where it was acquired.
- Be ready to show your doctor the photos you took
Avoid Using Old Fashioned Tick Removal Techniques
Time is of the essence and we want to safely remove the tick as quickly as possible to avoid any disease transmission. The old fashioned techniques may ultimately remove the tick, but there are consequences to using these methods. Do not paint the tick with nail polish – this technique suffocates the tick and causes it to release its stomach contents in its host. Do not cover it in vaseline as this also suffocates the tick. Do not use a hot needle, or use heat, in hopes that it will release on it’s own.