HOW TO … Remove a Tick

Media.aspxThe first time (and, frankly, every time) you find a tick on yourself or your child it can be a shock. But don’t panic! It’s true that Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States, but your child’s risk of developing Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick is very low. So take a deep breath, and then follow these simple steps to get rid of the little sucker.

STEP 1: Use tweezers to grab the tick firmly at the head or mouth, as close to the skin as possible.

STEP 2: Pull firmly and steadily, until the tick lets go.

STEP 3: Release the tick into a small container of rubbing alcohol (tick euthanasia).

STEP 4: Swab the bite area with alcohol.

To be safe, you’ll want to remove the tick as soon as possible because risk of infection of all kinds increases between 24 to 72 hours after the tick attaches to the skin.

CAUTION: Don’t use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove a tick, no matter what you’ve heard. These methods don’t get the tick to release the skin, and can cause it to burrow deeper and release more saliva, increasing the risk of disease transmission.

 

 

 

 

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Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?


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