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How to Correctly Remove a Tick

By: , – By Woman's Day Staff
8/8/2011 6:00 AM   :  12 comments   :  6,280 Views

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Finding one of these little buggers on your skin doesn’t mean you’re destined for Lyme disease. If the tick is tiny (the size of a poppy seed), it has probably been on your body for fewer than 48 hours and most likely hasn’t had time to transmit the Lyme-causing bacteria, says Durland Fish, PhD, professor of epidemiology at Yale University School of Public Health. Whatever the size, here’s the right way to remove it (don’t use petroleum jelly or nail polish remover):

1. Use pointed tweezers to grasp the tick by its head or mouthparts right where they enter the skin. (View them through a magnifying glass if necessary.)

2. Swiftly and firmly pull the tick out (don’t twist). Clean the area with rubbing alcohol.

3. Place the tick in a jar or sealed bag with rubbing alcohol. Call your doctor and ask if you should save it (some doctors may want to examine it to figure out how long it’s been on your skin, says Dr. Fish).

4. If you develop a rash near the bite (it could take up to 30 days), see your doctor. You may have Lyme disease and need an antibiotic (doxycycline).

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Have you needed to remove a tick before? If so, did you follow these tips to remove it?


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Comments

  • 12
    Instead of saving the tick in a jar or bag. I've always just put it on a piece of invisible tape and post it on a calendar. Then I have a record of when it happened. So far I haven't ended up with lymes or any other tick carried disease. - 8/16/2011   9:37:28 AM
  • 11
    I have lyme disease and I wouldn't wish it on anyone! You don't have to have a bullseye or rash in order to have it. You have to save the tick for testing and you have to have a test no matter what!!!!
    I was misdiagnosed for a while and Im suffering bigtime from it, it brought on fibromyalgia as well....
    I can no longer work, I still take meds after 12 yrs and I've had the Iv meds where I had to have a picline put in and went for 6 months straight every single day to the hospital for IV meds, lyme is no joke!!!!!!
    Some people said just pull them off, u have to know what your doing...
    You have to see an infectious disease doctor and if your going to get tested get the test from IGENIX it's the only reliable one out there. a lot give false negatives, this isn't something to take lightly it has ruined my life.....
    The only good of me having lyme disease is that I saved my son from it, the doctors were trying to say he had growing pains, I had doctors calling me nuts thinking he had it too.
    You have no idea what lyme can do to you and it's not just lyme u have to worry about there's something else called Barbesiosis..... - 8/8/2011   8:57:22 PM
  • 10
    Some genetic twist has saved my brother and I from getting ticks. Coming up on 65 years of living, I've only had one tick - despite being on my grandfather's farm for summers, and hunting and fishing in fairly remote areas. That one tick was just under my long-sleeved shirt cuff and had barely started it's bite when I found it. It came off just by pulling and other than a little red spot for a couple of days, I had no reaction at all.

    That same "immunity" also works for me and mosquito bites, and while in Vietnam wading through rice paddies and crossing jungle streams, I never was bothered by leaches as my buddies were. On the other hand, I am NOT immune from chiggers.

    My poor, dear wife, on the other hand, will attract the only mosquito in a 10 mile radius. - 8/8/2011   2:28:57 PM
  • VIMVIGOR
    9
    Very timely information, ticks seem to be a problem everywhere. This method is the same as the Vet showed me for removing them from my dog. - 8/8/2011   1:53:21 PM
  • 8
    Or you can do what I've done for 30+ years: just pull it off. About 75% of the time, the tick is dead already, and the burn/alcohol/whatever doesn't make a dead tick back out of the skin. - 8/8/2011   1:18:18 PM
  • 7
    You actually want to save the tick so it can get tested for lyme. There are different centers that can do it depending on where you live. - 8/8/2011   12:59:06 PM
  • 6
    You can have Lyme Disease without getting a bull's eye rash. The rash is estimated to be in only 30-40% of cases. And the tests for it are poor--so you can have it, and test *negative*.

    There are also many other bacteria and viruses you can get from a tick bite. It's no joke. I contracted Lyme Disease, Babesiosis and Bartonella from one tick bite. Although feeling much better, because of a decade of fighting it, my body's immune system is very weak now. Avoid tick bites if you can. - 8/8/2011   10:55:47 AM
  • GMAGEE
    5
    My husband is more familiar with ticks as he grew up on the border of farmland and suburbia and had dogs, cats and other pets. Growing up as a city girl, I was spared any encounters with them. But our daughter got a tick once while we were on vacation and hubby singed it off with the burned match technique - no problem. That's the way I was always told to do it too. - 8/8/2011   9:35:30 AM
  • 4
    Fortunately only on dogzilla and then I make BF do it! He puts the little buggers in a glass jar with alcohol until we see if the dog has any untoward effects. But with treatment, she's not picking them up any more. . . - 8/8/2011   9:24:11 AM
  • 3
    I grew up in Southern Illinois and our dog would go down in the woods & he'd get ticks. My father would lite a match and let it burn then blow it out and put it on the tick. The tick would release it's pinches and drop off. My father always said not to pull the ticks off of "Jip" as they'd leave their pinchers in him. I don't know if that was the right method, but our dog never became sick. - 8/8/2011   9:12:02 AM
  • 2
    We live in the woods and so we find them on ourselves and our pets quite often. We do use the tweezers and alcohol swab. However, since the buggers are so hard to squish, we flush them down the toilet (we have our own septic system) to get rid of them permanently after watching one crawl out of the trash after we tried to get rid of it that way. - 8/8/2011   8:37:44 AM
  • 1
    Great information! We seem to live in the tick capital. There are many ticks in our area. Sometimes we find them in our yard even. Ick! Glad to have a review for proper removal. - 8/8/2011   8:37:31 AM

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