Because ticks carry the germ that causes Lyme disease, they should be carefully and entirely removed. Here’s how:
- Clean the area with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.
- Using blunt tweezers, grasp the tick as near to its mouth parts and as close to the skin as you can. Steadily pull the tick up and out, but do not squeeze or twist the tick.
- Do not attempt to pull the tick off with your fingers, as the head may break off from the body and become embedded in the skin.
- Do not use heat from a match or a lit cigarette to remove the tick, as the heat may cause the tick to embed itself even farther into the skin.
- If the tick’s head is embedded in the skin:
- With your thumb and forefinger pinch up the fold of skin with the embedded tick head.
- Using a scalpel or a sterilized single razor blade, carefully scrape the skin containing the head and mouth of the tick, or use a sterilized needle to break the skin and remove the head and mouth. If you are tick squeamish, ask you doctor to perform this tick extraction.
- Cleanse the bitten area thoroughly with an antiseptic.
- If Lyme disease is prevalent in your community, save the tick in case it’s carrying the germ that may cause this illness and take it to a public health laboratory for analysis.
*Considering the many tick bites children receive, Lyme disease is rare.