If you spend a lot of time outdoors in nature, despite all precautionary measures and good tick repellents, you can still get bitten by a tick. When bitten, it is most important to remove a tick as soon as possible to lower the risk of the transfer of dangerous viruses of bacteria.
How To Remove A Tick From A Person
Ticks do not really bite, they stab their feeding apparatus, the Hypostome into the skin of their victim. Small barbs and a type of adhesive “latch” the tick to the bite site. To remove a tick from a person you need the right tool and a little force to actually pull the tick out.
The easiest and safest way to remove a tick is to use special tick removal tools. These can be pointed tick tweezers, a tick removal card, or a tick twister hook. The choice of tool is secondary, but make sure you get the tick out as soon as possible.
Grasp the tick with the tweezers as close as possible to the skin and pull it out vertically with a controlled, careful movement. Hold the tool steady and pull evenly in one direction, avoid wiggling back and forth so that the tick does not come apart. Avoid squeezing the tick’s body.
A slightly different technique is used when removing a tick from a person with a tick card. Here you do not have to actively pull, but remove the tick in a sliding motion. Simply place the card with the notch as close to the skin as possible, underneath the tick’s mouthparts, and push it carefully until the tick comes loose.
After removing the tick
The wound should be disinfected and monitored. If the bite becomes inflamed or other symptoms occur consult your doctor.
Sometimes when removing a tick, it may happen that parts of the tick’s feeding apparatus break off and remain in the wound. But there is no need to panic. The body’s own healing powers ensure that the foreign body is expelled in a couple of days without consequences. Monitor the wound and when an inflammatory reaction occurs to see your doctor.
Search your body for more ticks
Where there is one tick, there may be more. Take a shower and search your body if there are any more ticks.
What you should not do under any circumstances
Avoid squeezing the tick’s body. Pathogens (such as Borrelia) linger in the intestine of the tick. Squizzing or squashing the tick may flush them into the wound.
Do NOT burn the tick and do NOT use glue, oil or nail polish remover on the tick as long as it is attached. When the tick dies it may “vomit” its intestinal contents into the wound and the transmission of pathogens is promoted.
How to dispose of a tick
Ticks are really tough creatures. So to how to dispose of a tick properly is important to make sure they can not do any more damage.
- The most effective method to kill a tick is by fire. Put the ticks into a matchbox or paper bag and burn it
- Drop ticks into alcohol or methylated spirit
- Spray permethrin or insecticide onto them
- Don’t flush ticks down the sink or toilet, ticks can survive underwater for about 30 days
- Simply crushing ticks is not a good idea as you may get into contact with pathogens. And if the tick should carry eggs they could be released and spread. So when you crush a tick, avoid touching it. Better fold the tick in a sheet of paper fold and crush then or better burn the lot.
Be sure to see a doctor if flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body ache occur one to two weeks after the bite.
More about Tick Removal: CDC Fact Sheet