Simple Steps for Removing a Tick

What is a Tick?

Ticks are common pests in the United States, often plaguing both people and pets. Ticks are members of the arachnid family, closely related to spiders. Commonly found in wooded areas, these pests feed off the blood of their host. They can also pass diseases, including Lyme disease, to their host. The risk of disease transmission increases after a tick has been attached for more than 24 hours, according to the experts at KidsHealth.org. The health risk makes it imperative to remove a tick as quickly as possible.

Tick Removal Myths

There are several old wives tales related to removing a tick. Using a lit match, petroleum jelly or liquid dish soap to cause a tick to release is not an effective way to remove a tick. Using petroleum jelly or a lit match may actually cause the tick to burrow further into the skin and release more saliva. Some experts believe increased saliva production increases the likelihood of contracting a disease from a tick bite.  Avoid these old wives tales and instead reach for a trusty pair of tweezers.

Removing a Tick

Getting a tick off yourself or your kids does not need to be a scary process. The first step to successfully removing a tick is locating the pest as quickly as possible. After hiking, camping or playing in wooded areas, be sure to check yourself and your family for ticks. Should you discover one, follow these simple tips to successfully remove the tick. For successful removal, you will need a few simple first aid tools including: tweezers, rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs and antibiotic ointment. If you live in an area with high tick populations, be sure to keep a kit with these supplies on hand and in the car.

  1. Grasp the tick’s head with tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
  2. Pull away from the skin firmly. Keep applying pressure until the tick releases and is easily pulled away.
  3. Drop the offending tick into a dish filled with rubbing alcohol. This helps prevent the tick from getting free and finding another host.
  4. Use a cotton swab to apply rubbing alcohol, peroxide or a triple antibiotic ointment over the bite site.

Ticks and Pets

Ticks are not only an issue for you and your children. Dogs and outdoor cats are also susceptible to tick bites. Ticks can transmit diseases to your animals, as well. After outdoor play or hiking, be sure to check your pet for ticks. Follow the same simple steps listed above for removing a tick from your pet. Be sure to treat the bite site with pet-safe antibiotic ointment.

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