Home Remedies for Tick Removal

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There are many home remedies for tick removal. Many of these methods sound much simpler and more attractive than the doctor-recommended method of forceps removal of the nasty parasite, but in actuality may increase the chances of infection or disease for the victim of the tick bite.

What is a Tick?

A tick is a small, blood-sucking parasite in the arachnid family that lives on the blood of a host creature, such as deer, cows, dogs, cats and even humans. Ticks "find" hosts by sitting on tall blades of grass or in trees or shrubs, waiting for a host to travel by. When the host brushes the foliage or grass, the tick is then transferred onto the host's body. It will usually look for a warm, moist spot on the host body, which explains why ticks are often found in armpits, crotches and other crevices. Once it finds a suitable area of the body, it will attach itself to the host by biting, then insert a probe through the skin of the host in order to suck blood. In this way, the tick can pass along illnesses and infection such as tularemia and Lyme disease.

Commonly Reported Home Remedies

Many people advocate covering the tick in a substance that will smother it. It is thought that the tick will suffocate and then let go, releasing itself without having to pull it off or worry about the head remaining within the skin. The different substances reported to work include petroleum jelly, liquid soap, hot candle wax, nail polish remover, dandruff shampoo and gasoline.

Some people advocate injuring the tick by burning it or poking it through with a suture needle. Others advocate using the edge of a credit card to scrape the tick out of the skin or using sharp instruments to remove the tick.

There are over-the-counter spray preparations that supposedly freeze the tick, making it unable to regurgitate or salivate, but allowing the bite to release to aid in easy removal.

One unusual method involves moistening a fingertip with saliva and gently making circles on the tick continuously until it lets go of the skin. The person removing the tick then immediately squeezes it between the thumb and forefinger nails to kill it, so as to avoid the tick immediately biting again.

Why These Methods are Inadvisable

These types of removal may work sometimes, but it is because it either causes the tick to suffocate or shocks the tick into releasing it's bite. Either way, the tick is likely to regurgitate the contents of its stomach, causing an influx of additional bacteria and germs into the bite area. This could lead to a higher chance of infection and/or disease.

Further, ticks should never be handled with bare hands, if at all possible. A tick is potentially full of disease-causing bacteria. Anytime a tick is handled or removed with bare hands, it is advisable to immediately and thoroughly wash hands with an anti-bacterial soap or cleanser.

Proper Way to Remove A Tick

Grasp the tick with blunt tweezers near the head, and slowly and consistently pull until the tick releases its bite. Kill and store the tick, in case symptoms of illness follow and a doctor needs to see the specimen.

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