In the unfortunate event you have found a tick attached on your body, do not simply pull it off! Below you will find some tips that will help you remove the tick quickly and in the correct way. Using the proper technique of tick removal may decrease you chances of getting infected.
- Remove firmly the ticks with fine-tipped tweezers in order to grasp the tick close to the skin surface.
- Pull gently upward using steady, even pressure until the tick comes off.
- Avoid compressing the tick’s abdomen or squeezing it. If you crush it, you are increasing the chances of transmitting an infection.
- Do not twist, turn or jerk the tick, as it can cause the mouth or head to break off and stay in the skin. Leaving parts of it in the skin is increasing your chances of getting infected. You won’t be able to remove the parts with the tweezers.
- Don’t try to remove the tick using petroleum jelly or smoldering match, nail polish, kerosene, cigarette or anything else. It will only aggravate things, as the tick will inject bodily fluids into the wound faster.
- Do not touch the tick with your bare fingers. Use a tweezer.
- Once the tick is removed, use soap and water or a mild disinfectant to wash and clean the bite area. You can also use rubbing alcohol or iodine scrub to disinfect your hands.
- Keep the tick and place it in ziplock bag or a small tightly closed container. Take it with you when you go to the doctor, for identification purposes. He may send it to a lab to check if it was carrying any diseases.
- Write down the day and the location where you got bitten.
- Do not flush the tick in the toilet. It will not kill it and there are chances that it might crawl its way back out of the toilet bowl.
- Keep a close eye on the bite area for several days. Usually the first symptoms (fever, flu-like symptoms, numbness, rash, confusion, weakness, pain and swelling in the joints, nausea and vomiting) appear after a few days up to couple of weeks.
If you present any sign or symptoms, you need to go see a health care provider immediately!
CanLyme (Canadian Lyme Disease Association) offers a great guide of tick identification and tick removal tips. Check it out and learn more about ticks.