Q:

How do you safely remove a tick?

A:

Quick Answer

Remove a tick safely by using tweezers, grabbing and pulling the tick correctly, cleaning the area and disposing of the tick. Be sure to contact a doctor if a rash or flu-like symptoms develop after removing a tick.

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Full Answer

  1. Use tweezers

    While there are tick removal devices on the market, a pair of fine-tipped tweezers works very well and is a safe option to pull ticks out of the skin. Clean the tweezers, either with warm, soapy water or alcohol, and rinse before use. Remember to clean them again after use.

  2. Grab and pull the tick correctly

    Place the tweezers as close to the skin as possible to grab the tick. Avoid squeezing on the tick's stomach to prevent fluid from the tick's body from being expelled into the skin. With steady pressure, pull straight up. Avoid twisting or jerking the tweezers, as this may result in the tick's head breaking off in the skin.

  3. Clean the bite area properly

    After removing the tick, immediately wash the bite area with warm, soapy water. Rubbing alcohol or iodine can be applied to the bite. An antibacterial ointment can also be applied to the bite. The person who removed the tick also needs to wash his or her hands with soap and water after removal is complete, and again after disposing of the tick.

  4. Dispose of the tick

    Flush the tick down the toilet or submerse it in rubbing alcohol. Alternately, wrap it tightly in tape and throw it away. If needed, place the tick in a bag and freeze it; this is important if the tick is needed for identification later because of a rash or other concerning symptoms.

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