Removing Ticks

Information on removing ticks differs depending on where you search on the internet. Some will suggest that extracting ticks with your fingers is okay, however others will say to use tweezers and that you shouldn’t use your fingers. It may all be to do with what kind of tick needs detaching and where it needs detaching from. If you are searching for tips on extracting these parasites, it is more likely to be for you, your children or your house-pets. The good thing is there are multiple methods and also tools to assist you. Any risk with withdrawing a tick with fingers will be to do with the ability of pulling it out altogether in one piece and not leaving any parts in the skin for further infection. This relates to the deer, brown dog, cattle, human and red tick.

Before removing ticks you will probably want to be aware of the risks involved and why the process should be exercised carefully and with caution. The bottom line is, you do not want to leave any part of the parasite remaining in the skin, you do not want to burst it (to avoid infection to the bite and in the blood) and you want to ensure its killed so it cannot crawl off and start sucking the blood of something else. The majority of tick bites will not cause too much irritation or discomfort but these parasites are able to carry and transmit multiple infections and diseases. Lyme disease (also known as Lyme Borreliosis) is one of the most commonly mentioned diseases. They are also said to be able to spread Q fever, Babeosis, Ehrlichiosis, Meningoencephalitis, Anaplasmosis and jaundice in dogs. All of which are passed on through their saliva and contact with the blood of their host. Therefore it is vital that when detaching them, it is done properly.

removing a tick

There are many things to try NOT to do when withdrawing ticks from the skin and some of these are below:

If you squeeze the ticks they may burst. You may cause more harm than good by burning them (and your skin) with a flame, plus it may embed them more. Pulling the tick out with your fingers may lead to it breaking and Vaseline may encourage the parasite to go deeper and then become more slippery to get out.

Removing Ticks from skin

When removing ticks from pets, you always have the option of going to see your veterinarian. This may be the safest option if you are concerned about infection or making the situation worse. Alternatively, it may be a good idea to at least get a second pair of hands to help out with the process. These parasites embed themselves in the skin and latch on in a clockwise motion. Therefore, when detaching a tick you will want to twist them back anti clockwise whilst applying a gentle pulling action. You want to give yourself the best chance of getting the tick out in one piece, so part the fur of your pet so you can clearly see the parasite. The body should be visible but the head will be in the skin. Wear some protective gloves and gently apply pressure either side of the tick (as to squeeze a big spot). This will push the area of skin upwards. Some forums believe that applying a swab of cotton wool which has been soaked in mentholated or surgical spirit may suffocate and kill the tick, encouraging it to loosen its grip. This should be done prior to twisting and pulling it out. Remember - do not squeeze too heavily! Alternatively you could purchase a tick remover tool. These devices are designed for small and large ticks and are shaped like a capital L with a small V shape at the bottom end of the L. You can pick these up from pet shops and veterinarians as well as on the internet. These tools prevent any chance of over-squeezing the tick and bursting it, preventing any saliva back flow.

Removing Ticks from Children

If you or your children have ticks that need detaching, a tick removing tool will act in exactly the same way. The device turns the body of the parasite so the grasps are detached from the skin and it can be easily withdrawn without any risk of breaking the body. Alternatively you can go down the tweezers route (using fine tweezers). Wear a pair of protective gloves and keep a jar aside to place the tick in after withdrawing it. You can fill the jar with a solution to kill the tick, but it may be a good idea to keep it for checking if your children become ill as a result. The doctor may then be able to establish what infection or disease the parasite is carrying, should they need to. Use the tweezers to gently twist the parasite anti-clockwise and pull it out. The bite can then be treated and cleaned with an antiseptic. If the tick is broken and does not come out as a whole, seek medical advice from your doctor and monitor any ill effects with your/ your child’s health.

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