How to Pull Off Feeding Ticks

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A wayward tick bite can ruin an otherwise leisurely stroll. Ticks can carry various diseases, and so should be removed as soon as possible after detection. Unfortunately, there remains a great deal of misinformation about how to remove a tick. Read on to learn how to pull off feeding ticks.

If you can, don a pair of plastic gloves, or some other form of sterile barrier. With a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close as possible to the skin--ideally, grasping the tick's mouth or head . Do not squeeze the body of the tick, which may force it to regurgitate into the host's blood stream.

Pull up and away from the skin with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or otherwise jerk the tweezers or tick.

The mouth parts of the tick may detach, and embed into the skin of the host. Remove any embedded parts with tweezers or a sterilized needle.

Disinfect the bite site, with soap and water. Ensure that the tick doesn't come into contact with any bare skin, or mucous membranes as infectious agents may transmit themselves through breaks in the skin.

Preserve the tick. Store it either in alcohol, or in a sealed plastic bag. Record any relevant information of how the tick bite occurred: date, site, length of time the tick was attached and other information. Different species of ticks can transmit different diseases, and the original specimen can help a doctor make an accurate diagnosis of any later illness. The tick in question can also be tested directly, to see if it carries a particular disease.

Tips & Warnings

  • To prevent needless tick bites, perform a tick check over your entire body, or your pet's, after frequenting areas where ticks are known to exist. Make sure to check the private areas, as well as along the thighs and in the armpits. Know these are parts of the body favored by many ticks.
  • Do not remove the tick with a match, petroleum jelly, alcohol or freezing. Do not, in fact, kill the tick while it is still attached to the body: doing so may make it regurgitate its gut contents, thereby increasing the chances of infection.

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