Tick Removal

Ticks are tiny blood sucking parasites which live in woodland and grassy areas. They are often found in tall grass, where they will rest at the tip of a blade so as to attach themselves to a passing animal or human. The tick will usually drop off of the animal when full, but this may take several days.

Ticks have a harpoon-like structure in their mouth area that allows them to anchor firmly in place while sucking blood. Pulling a tick out forcefully may squeeze the contents of the tick back into the bite and often leaves the mouthpiece behind, which may result in infection.

Most tick bites are harmless but, occasionally, the tick carries a small bacterium which can cause Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a serious infection and it is recommended that you see a doctor as soon as possible as the infection can cause serious illness. The disease might show itself as an expanding reddish, round rash in the area of the bite. Usually this will occur within three to thirty days of a bite. Early symptoms may resemble flu with swollen glands near the site, mild headaches, aching muscles and joints, and tiredness.

A school nurse has written the information below, and it really works! She believes that this is the best way to remove a tick.

This is great, because it works in those places where it's sometimes difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc.

Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and let it stay on the repulsive insect for a few seconds (15-20), after which the tick will come out on it's own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.

This technique has worked every time I've used it (and that was frequently), and it's much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me. Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can't see that this would be damaging in any way.

I even had my doctor's wife call me for advice because she had one stuck to her back and she couldn't reach it with tweezers. She used this method and immediately called me back to say, "It worked!"

---A Caring Nurse