There are a lot of myths out there about tick removal and some have been around for a long time. The one I remember as a kid was if you yanked the body off of a tick and left the head embedded in your skin it would grow a new body. Let me tell you, for a 10 year old that’s pretty scary.
While it’s true if you yank or twist a tick while trying to remove it you could leave it’s head and mouth parts in your skin but the only real danger in that is this is where the saliva is and that’s how tick borne disease is transmitted. Removing a tick this way could actually make it secrete even more with this action or regurgitate it’s stomach contents into your body.
Other ways I’ve heard of are using a hot needle or pin, liquid soap, whiskey, rubbing alcohol, hot tweezers or pliers, finger nail polish or petroleum jelly. While there may be some anecdotal evidence of these techniques working they are really not recommended by anybody in the know. Again the reason is you will probably cause more secretions to be pumped into your body and no amount of these substances are going to convince the tick to let go.
The plain and simple truth about removing ticks is boring, you don’t have to trick it or cause the tick to become dizzy to release it’s specially shaped blood sucking mouth parts. You simply use tweezers and get as close to the skin as you can and pull it straight out. An anchored tick might take a slight tug but don’t squeeze really hard, it’ll come.
With the tick removed you should put it in a plastic bag and date it in case you develop any problems and it needs to be identified and scrub the bite area with antiseptic.
Also, it takes a tick about 12 hours or so to dig it’s hypostome (that’s the jagged little sucking mouth parts) in deep enough for it to begin to feed. During this time it is less likely that it will have transmitted any secretions and thus very little chance you’ve been infected with any disease. That should make you feel better.
There are some specialty tick removal devices on line but I’ve never used them so I can’t say if they are any good or not. You can click the link above and decide for yourself. In the mean time just remember there are many old wives tales about tick removal but the tick isn’t listening.
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