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How to Safely Remove a Tick

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It seems that almost everyone has a proven way to deal with ticks. We are ready to burn them with a match on our skin or make them suffocate under a layer of nail polish or petroleum jelly. What is more surprising is that we also believe that they will detach themselves if we swab them with a soap-soaked cotton ball. Maybe if we cast a spell on them, the effectiveness will be higher? Experts are not so sure though.

Bright Side found that there is only one approved safe technique and decided that this information is worth spreading. We also prepared a bonus section for those who wonder why the methods above can be dangerous.

If you find a tick attached somewhere on your body, there is no need to panic. The first thing you should do is to promptly remove it. Here is a short guide from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Take fine-tipped tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Slowly pull the tick straight up, applying even pressure. Try not to twist or jerk the tick. Otherwise, parts of its mouth can get stuck in your skin. If this happens, remove them with tweezers.
  • Clean the bite spot and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • Place the tick in alcohol, a sealed bag or container, or wrap it tightly in tape.

Ticks can transmit different diseases. It depends on where you were when you got the tick. So it is better to see a doctor soon after you got bitten and determine if any treatment is necessary. This decision can be made using the tick type, so do not forget to take it with you.

Bonus: What you should not do when removing a tick

There are a lot of different methods recommended on the web. But almost all of them can do more harm than good. “We don’t recommend any of these things,” says Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, an entomologist at the Cornell Entomology Department.

  • Lit matches. Trying to heat up the tick can make it vomit back into the wound. Moreover, you can burn your skin.
  • Vaseline or nail polish. Using these substances on the bite area can lead to a deeper burrowing of the tick into the skin.
  • Soap-soaked cotton ball. There is a myth that the tick will remove itself if you swab it with a soap-soaked cotton ball. The TickEncounter Resource Center checked this strategy. “In the end, we were never able to remove a single tick,” they reported.

Do you know any other methods that are not safe to use? Share this article with a friend who is still sure that their grandmother’s methods are the most effective.

Preview photo credit Mosquito Squad / Wordpress
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for Bright Side
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