Ticks can be much more than a mere annoyance in the outdoors as they can transmit various diseases to humans. While you can take steps to help keep ticks away, including avoiding direct contact in areas they may be present and wearing insect repellant, sometimes they can be easy to miss. If you find a tick that has already decided to stick around, it is important to follow these steps in order to remove it properly:
- Grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible using clean, fine-tipped tweezers.
- Pull up with steady, even pressure – be sure not to twist or jerk the tick as this can result in the mouth-parts breaking off and remaining in the skin. If this occurs, use clean tweezers to remove the mouth parts, or, if you are unable to remove the mouth parts, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After the tick is removed, clean the bite and your hands thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, iodine soap, or soap and water.
- If the tick is still alive, submerge it in alcohol, place in a sealed bag or container, wrap tightly with tape, or flush it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
There are many folklore remedies you may have heard, such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat from a match to make the tick detach, but the steps above ensure that the ultimate goal of removing the tick as soon as possible is achieved. Do not wait for the tick to detach on its own.
If the tick has been removed promptly, you most likely won’t have any health concerns. However, visit a healthcare provider at Midwest Express Clinic urgent care if you notice the following symptoms within a few weeks of a tick bite:
- Aches and pains (i.e. headache, fatigue, muscle aches, or joint pain)
These symptoms may indicate a more serious issue, such as Lyme disease or other tick borne illness that requires medical attention.
The physicians at Midwest Express Clinic are here to help should you have any concerns about symptoms you may be experiencing, or require assistance to remove the tick. Our walk-in clinics are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and no appointment is necessary at any of our locations.