How to Safely Remove a Tick

Going hiking or camping this summer? Don’t forget to pack a fine-tipped tweezer.

Ticks are tenacious. Be careful when removing them. Remember the age-old advice of burning a tick with a match? Forget it. That can cause the tick to release more fluid into your skin, increasing your chance of infection, and potentially leave you with a nasty burn.

Here’s how to safely remove a tick:

1. Don’t panic. Get a pair of clean fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick, and pull straight up — no jiggling or twirling, which can tear the tick in half leaving part of it embedded in your skin.

2. Once the tick is removed, you can two things with it. If you have a Ziploc bag, save it. Any dermatologist worth his salt could identify it for you. If you don’t want to travel with the tick, then crush it with the tweezers or some other hard object.

3. Rub the affected area with some alcohol hand sanitizer, or wash it thoroughly with soap and water.

If you develop symptoms such as headache, fatigue, body aches, or rash within a few weeks of the tick bite, see your doctor, as ticks can carry diseases including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Tell your doctor when and where you were bitten, and if you still have the critter in the Ziploc bag, whip it out and show him.

Anyone know what kind of tick this is?

Photo credit: FCC, John Tann.