1. Preparation for tick removal
Firstly, you may want to know what kind of tick you are working with. This may be useful should you need to see a healthcare professional so you can tell them what kind of tick has bitten you. This handy tick guide will help you identify what tick you are working with.
Then, it is important to disinfect the area where the tick is attached with rubbing alcohol. Use cotton wool to carefully clean the area, without disrupting the tick.
2. Tick removal tools
A great tool for removing a tick is a pair of pointy tweezers. There is a risk of tearing the tick if you use ordinary household tweezers which are often too wide to grasp small ticks. You can buy pointy tweezers from most pharmacies in the UK - just type in ‘pointy tweezers’ in your search box. You can also get specialist tick removers such as the tick remover by LifeSystems and the Tick Twister.
You can avoid getting to the tick removal stage by by using an insect repellent that repels ticks.
3. The tick removal process
Treat tick removal as a delicate process. It is important to use the pointy tweezers to grab the tick by the head, getting as close to your skin as possible. This is to ensure that you pull out the whole of the tick, including the head. Carefully pull the tick out with the tweezers using a slow and steady upwards pull to avoid tearing the tick. Watch the tick removal video for guidance.
If you remove the tick but the head remains in your skin, it should eventually be pushed out by your body. If this happens you ought to keep a close eye out for possible reactions and symptoms from the bite for which medical advice may be necessary.
4. Post tick removal
Disinfect the area again with rubbing alcohol to ensure the skin is thoroughly clean. Dispose of the tick by submerging it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet – do not be tempted to crush it with your fingers.
5. When to see a doctor about a tick bite
If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, arrange to see your doctor immediately. Dangerous diseases such as Lyme Disease are caused by tick bites from infected ticks and it is important to seek medical attention promptly. Read more about symptoms of tick bites.
When you speak with your doctor, be sure to report your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.
Preventing tick bites
There are a number of ways you can help prevent ticks from attaching to and biting your skin. Read '6 ways to avoid tick bites this summer' to avoid the need for tick removal advice. You can also repel ticks with Mosi-guard tick repellent.