How to Properly Remove a Tick

Do you remember being told to burn a tick or cover it with
nail polish, lighter fluid or petroleum jelly to remove it?

Well, the old methods often cause the tick to vomit the contents of its gut into the bite.  According to research, all of the improper tick removal can increase your chance of contracting Lyme disease.
• Researchers have discovered that the spirochete that causes Lyme disease is actually
found in a tick’s gut, not its mouth.
• Removing the tick’s mouth isn’t really as important as we were all taught years ago.
It’s much more important to make sure the tick doesn’t “throw-up” the contents of
its gut when removing it.
• As a tick feeds, it regurgitates germs from its gut into the bite site, and each “burp”
increases the likelihood of Lyme disease transmission.
• It’s still important to remove ticks promptly, though, because many ticks have
Lyme spirochetes in their saliva along with the bacteria for other tick-borne
diseases and the more bacteria injected when a tick bites, the higher the chance
you will be infected.
Nymphs (young ticks) actually cause most cases of Lyme disease. It’s difficult to
remove a nymph without squeezing the nymph’s abdomen with tweezers, so the tick
removal tool is recommended
• If ticks are found and removed right away, they may not have time to give you Lyme disease.     It often takes several hours for a tick to give you the germs.


  • A hot match
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Liquid soap
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Lighter fluid
  • Or other chemicals.  (These may make the tick vomit germs into you.)
  • Using fingers or blunt tweezers to pull a tick out.  (These may squeeze the tick’s gut and squirt germs into you.)


    • Fine-pointed tweezers.  This works for adult ticks, if you grasp the tick at the mouth, where the tick is attached to your skin; it’s not safe for the tiny young ticks, because the gut might get squeezed and squirt germs into you.
    • A credit card or something else you can slide under the tick.  Slide something under the tick and press upward at the mouth until the tick pulls itself out.
    • A tick remover that slides under the tick. The Lyme Association of Greater Kansas City sells a tool that slides under the tick for $5. Click here to order.
    • After removing a tick, disinfect the bite site, removal tool, and your hands.


How to Use Tick Remover

  1. Slide something under the tick, like a tick removal tool or credit card (which doesn’t always work).
  2. The tips of the tick remover should be pointed and a slight upward angle, forcing the tick’s head into the narrowest part of the “V.”
  3. Grasp the tick as close to the mouth as possible (where its attached) and pull straight out SLOWLY.
  4. Do NOT turn or twist as you pull
  5. Disinfect the bite site and tool and wash your hands with antibacterial soap.
  6. Mouth parts left in the skin can be removed with a sterile needle or by a doctor.  Like a splinter, they will work themselves out over a few days or weeks, but may cause itching.

Click here to order.

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