When a tick bites you, it inserts barbs that resemble reverse harpoons into the skin to securely attach itself. To further ensure secure attachment, ticks also secrete a tacky, adhesive substance. For these reasons, it can often be difficult to remove a tick completely, and mouthparts can be left behind. When these mouthparts remain behind, they can cause a secondary infection, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It is important to remove the entire tick--body and head--when it has firmly attached itself.
Things You'll Need
- Fine-point tweezers
- Small lidded container
- Rubbing alcohol
Pull the skin taut surrounding the tick bite.
Grasp the tick gently with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, or special tick-removal tweezers, as close to your skin as possible. Be very careful not to squeeze the head or body of the tick.
Apply a small amount of pressure to the tick and slowly pull it straight out in one smooth motion. Do not attempt to twist the tick, because this may cause the mouthparts to remain behind.
Place the tick in a small container and close the lid tightly. Label the container with the date of the tick removal and the location where you were bitten.
Wash your hands well. Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the tweezers and the tick bite.
If you are concerned about potential tick-borne illness, take the container with the tick to a local health center or veterinarian for testing and identification.