Ticks are horrible things to find on your skin, or on your pets. Using a pair of tick tweezers your main aims are to remove the tick promptly & to prevent it releasing additional saliva or regurgitating its stomach contents into your bite wound. Using a tick tweezer will help you with this.
- Hold the tick tweezer in your hand with your fingers curled around it.
- Depress the plunger using your thumb; this will extend the pincers opening them out.
- Hold the tweezer so that the extended pincers are pressed against the skin either side of the tick.
- Slowly release your thumb pressure which will retract the pincers and close them up. Be sure that they stay pressed against the skin so that you grasp the tick where it is attached to your skin.
- Having fully released the thumb pressure, rotate the tweezers anti-clockwise three times (this will help to withdraw all of the ticks mouthparts from the skin).
- Pull the tweezers and the tick away from the skin.
Here are some top tips from Lyme Disease Action:
- DO use a proprietary tick removal tool
- If no tools are available, rather than delay use a fine thread, something like cotton or dental floss. Tie a single loop of thread around the tick’s mouthparts, as close to the skin as possible, then pull upwards and outwards without twisting.
- DO start by cleansing the tweezers/tool with antiseptic. After tick removal, cleanse the bite site and the tool with antiseptic.
- DO wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
- DO save the tick in a container in case a doctor asks for evidence that you have been bitten (label it with date and location). Public Health England is also currently running a scheme to investigate ticks – see below.
- DO NOT squeeze the body of the tick, as this may cause the head and body to separate, leaving the head embedded in your skin.
- DO NOT use your fingernails to remove a tick. Infection can enter via any breaks in your skin, e.g. close to the fingernail.
- DO NOT crush the tick’s body, as this may cause it to regurgitate its infected stomach contents into the bite wound.
- DO NOT try to burn the tick off, apply petroleum jelly, nail polish or any other chemical. Any of these methods can cause discomfort to the tick, resulting in regurgitation, or saliva release.
- After you have removed your tick, keep it in a sealed container and send it to Public Health England’s Tick Recording Scheme. They will identify it for you and add the information to their database. Alternatively, kill the tick by crushing it and flushing it down the toilet, or by folding it in a strip of sticky tape and placing it in the waste.
- BE AWARE that engorged ticks will contain potentially infected blood, which may splatter when crushed.
- DO NOT crush the tick with your fingers and do not allow the crushed tick or the blood it carried to contact your skin.