First of all, don’t panic. Secondly, don’t just scratch it off. It is also crucial to remember not to pinch, squeeze or crush the body of the tick as there is a possibility that the fluid in the tick’s body contains infection-causing organisms. You also don’t want the tick’s head to stay behind in your skin. Sounds like a lot of things that you don’t want to happen, right? What you do want, however, is to get the tick out safely and as quickly as possible.
Here are a few things you should remember if you spot a tick on yourself to ensure you remove the tick correctly, minimise infection and the chances of getting a tick-borne disease.
- Find a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Alternatively, you could use tissue paper to cover your fingers – but always stay away from removing the tick with your bare hands. When removing the tick with tweezers, try to grip the tick as close to your skin as possible to help that you get the head of the tick out.
- Ticks are hard to spot at times, and can frequently go unspotted. Because they can be tiny, it is also hard to know whether you have removed the tick’s head or not. Investigate the skin closely and keep an eye out for any unusual skin irritations or signs that may suggest infection.
- You’d want to grab as close to their mouth as possible, which will be at the bug’s front. Don’t twist or turn as you might break the tick in two. Be sure to disinfect the area now, too.
- Do not try to drown the tick in rubbing alcohol whilst it is still attached to your skin. Although rubbing alcohol will kill the tick once removed, it can increase infection when applied whilst the tick is still attached.
- Do not try to burn the tick off. Although this is common advice, adding heat actually increases the tick’s saliva production which will enhance the chances of you getting infected with a tick-borne disease.
- Store the tick in a jar or container for further inspection if necessary.
- Apply disinfectant to the bite wound and make sure to keep an eye on your skin and for any abnormal rashes or skin irritations surrounding the bite mark.
- Do not try smothering the tick in petroleum jelly or Vaseline. This could encourage the tick to regurgitate infected fluids into your wound.
What do I do if I find a tick on myself?