Remove a Tick Safely

To safely and correctly remove a tick:
Step 1: Grab or assemble your tick removal kit

This kit should include:

prevention remove and test ticks remove ticks Remove a Tick SafelyPointed tweezers (or a Tick Key)

Or, you can use a Tick Key, which is specifically designed to remove ticks from both humans and pets, and can be easily attached to your key ring or any other similar fastener on your backpack or other gear.

prevention remove and test ticks remove ticks 02 Remove a Tick SafelyAlcohol Wipes

These are easy to carry with you no matter where you are, and will be used to disinfect the bite area after removing the tick.

prevention remove and test ticks remove ticks 03 Remove a Tick SafelyZiploc Bag

You will use the Ziploc bag to keep and preserve the tick should you want to send it out for testing at a lab.

Optional kit item: Magnifying Glass

Use this to better view the tick and ensure that you are pinching the tick as close to the skin as possible with the tweezers. You might also consider a reading magnifying glass that has an LED light for an even clearer view.

Step 2: Attach the Tweezers To the Tick

Slide the tweezers across and over the tick’s head or the area just above it. The key is to get as close to the skin as possible.

Step 3: Pull the Tick Straight Out

Using the tweezers, firmly, slowly, and steadily pull the tick straight out from the skin, taking care not to break the bug’s body.

Note: If the tick’s body detaches from its head, do not panic. Without its body, the tick’s head cannot transmit disease.

Step 4: Disinfect the Bite Area

prevention remove and test ticks remove ticks 07 Remove a Tick SafelyOpen an alcohol wipe and rub it on and around the tick bite area to disinfect the site.

See also  What is a Gravity Deer Feeder?
Step 5: Seal the Tick In the Ziploc Bag

prevention remove and test ticks remove ticks 08 Remove a Tick Safely If you want to have the tick tested for pathogens, drop it into the Ziploc bag and seal it to preserve the bug until you can send it to a lab.

For more information on testing, visit our Test A Tick page.

Step 6: Wash Your Hands With Soap and Water

Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after removing the tick to minimize the risk of infection.

How NOT To Remove A Tick:

After seeing the correct tick removal process, you may be saying, “Why can I just grab the tick really close with my fingernails and twist it off?” or “Well, my uncle said to burn a tick off with a match” – or whatever other myth you have heard.

However, the steps outlined above are the safest and most effective way to remove the tick in the cleanest and quickest way possible.

If you find an attached tick, do not attempt to kill or make a tick detach with/by:

Nail polish

Only rubbing alcohol

(Note: While alcohol is a good disinfectant after removing the tick, it will not kill or cause the tick to detach quickly.)

Petroleum jelly

A match, cigarette, or other heat source

(Note: While this method may work for the American dog tick, it is ineffective for blacklegged ticks and lone star ticks. Plus, you risk burning the host’s skin – especially with tiny nymph ticks.)

Previous articleBest Air Rifles for Hunting Small Game
Next articleArmistice Day Blizzard: 'I saw one friend sitting against a tree. He was frozen to death'
Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>