Prompt removal of a tick is crucial. The longer a tick stays attached to someone the more likely they are to become infected with a disease. Experts suggest the following protocol for tick removal:
- Tweezers – Use fine point tweezers to grasp the tick at the place of attachment, as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull – Gently pull the tick straight out. Avoid crushing the tick’s body and do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Once the mouth parts are removed from the rest of the tick, it can no longer transmit bacteria. If the tick is accidentally crushed, clean the skin with soap and warm water or alcohol. Do NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products to remove a tick.
- Save – Place the tick in a small vial or sealable bag with a damp paper towel to prevent it from dehydrating. If warranted by the victim’s physician, protecting the tick from dehydration aids in its identification.
- Clean – Wash your hands, disinfect the tweezers and cleanse the bite site.
- Bring the tick in for (tick identification/or prophylactic medication) to your physician.
- Bring this printout with you to give to your doctor.