Tick removal is a handy skill in Maine. The CDC has a good tick removal webpage where you can learn the basics of how to remove a tick. Tick removal is generally painless, but you should get it done. The quicker you learn hot to remove a tick, the less chance there is of getting a rick-born disease.
How to remove a tick using tweezers
- Grasp the tick close to the skin with fine-tipped tweezers.
- Pull gently upward with steady, even pressure until the tick lets go.
- Try not to squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick, because its bodily fluids may contain infection-causing organisms.
- After removing, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Don’t use Vaseline, alcohol or nail polisher remover because they don’t work.
- Save the tick in a small bottle in case it needs to be identified. Mark it with the date and where it was attached.
- Consult a physician if you removed an engorged tick or if you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing the tick.
How to remove a tick using a tick removal spoon
- Put the notch on the spoon on the skin near the tick.
- Apply downward press and slide spoon forward to frame the tick. Keep sliding spoon forward to detach the tick.
- After removing, follow same steps as above.
If you find any ticks on you, try not to freak out, but again, do remove them promptly. To have a tick identified, for $10.00 you can mail the specimen or upload a picture of it to the Tick Id Lab in Orono. (The lab only identifies the type of tick, not any disease it might carry.)
The University of Manitoba has a video on how to remove a tick on YouTube.
If you’re worried that you might have a tick-borne illness, it’s important to contact a healthcare provider.
If you don’t want to learn how to remove a tick, avoid ticks!
Ticks are tiny members of the arachnid family, and whatever their place in nature, that place should not be chewing on you. Tick emergency preparation isn’t foolproof, but in the words of Ben Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That includes trying to protect yourself against ticks in the first place.
A few years ago, Clayton Douglass went to his local quick care clinic to have a rash under his arm checked out. The doctor didn’t know what it was and prescribed a cream, which didn’t work. The rash spread.
Clayton spends a lot of time in the woods, so suspected he might have Lyme disease. “I’m constantly dealing with ticks,” he says. “I looked it up on the Internet and found pictures that looked exactly like what I had. I went back to the doctor, showed him the rash again and suggested that it might be Lyme disease. He looked it up in a medical journal and agreed. He then put me on a 21-day treatment of doxycycline. The rash cleared up and I haven’t had any problem since. I was lucky. Many people don’t get treatment until it’s too late. Ticks are an epidemic. A vaccine would be nice.”
- Try to avoid ticks by avoid known tick-infested areas. If you can’t, plan activities for hottest, driest part of the day.
- Wear light-colored clothing.
- Wear long pants tucked into socks or boots and tuck shirt into pants.
- Don’t wear open-toed shoes or sandals in areas that may harbor ticks.
- Consider using a tick repellent. For more information, read this insect repellent fact sheet.
- Check yourself over carefully after you’ve been outdoors and make sure to look under your arms, behind the knees, between the legs, in and around the ears, in the belly button and in the hair. How to remove a tick might become important knowledge.
You don’t have to be out in the back woods to come head to head with a tick. Most likely it’ll happen right in your own backyard.
Clayton Douglass has learned how to remove a tick, since he says he hasn’t found anything yet that does a good job of repelling ticks. “I do use DEET,” he says, “but I think it only cuts down on the numbers of them I find. A couple of years ago I went deer hunting off the Webb Road in Windham. When I got back to my truck, I started picking off little black deer ticks. I counted over thirty of them! I’ve heard people say that part of the problem is people don’t burn their fields like they used to 40-50 years ago. I don’t know the answer. DDT used to kill a lot of them, but I’m still glad they stopped spraying that stuff around. I see a lot of eagles now. I’ll deal with the ticks to enjoy that sight!”
How to remove a tick was originally written for the Advantage Home Care blog by Diane Atwood. If you would like to learn more about Advantage Home Care and the services they offer, see Advantage Home Care or call at 1-888-846-1410 or 207-699-2570.