What Is the Best Way to Remove Ticks From Humans?


Quick Answer

Ticks should be gently lifted upward from the skin using thin tweezers or another fine-tipped grasping tool, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Placing the tweezers close to the skin, and avoiding abrupt yanking or twisting motions can prevent the mouth from remaining stuck in the skin.

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Full Answer

WebMD strongly advises against using bare hands to remove a tick and suggests wearing gloves, especially when working without tweezers. Individuals should avoid causing any trauma to the tick that could result in its head breaking off in the skin. Methods such as burning the tick, or covering it with petroleum jelly or rubbing alcohol may increase the chance of developing an infection.

If the tick's mouth stays attached to the skin, any easily removable pieces can also be pulled away with tweezers, the CDC states. However, the tweezers should be cleaned before making further contact with the skin. Any stuck or difficult-to-reach mouth parts can be left in the skin and usually won't interfere with healing. After removal, the bite must be cleaned with soap and water, or a disinfectant, such as rubbing alcohol. For safe disposal, the tick should be kept in a sealed container or submerged in alcohol.

Antibiotic ointment can be applied to the bite area if it feels irritated, but persistent itching or swelling may require an ice pack, a warm washcloth or an antihistamine for relief, WebMD notes. Families should consult a doctor before using antihistamine to children with tick bites.

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