Ticks: Crazy myths about how to remove them.

The sooner a tick gets removed from a victim’s skin, the better. But there is a right way and a lot of wrong ways.

Tick on an arm

Photo from Google Images 

As I sat there as still as I could possibly be, I wondered whether a tick bite could be worse than catching my hair on fire. Yes, when I was a kid my Dad sincerely believed that holding the hot end of a lit cigarette as close as possible to the backside of a tick would cause it turn loose and back out. First, he shaved a little hair from the spot. Then he cut a hole in a wet washcloth and tried to accomplish the task while my little brother held the washcloth in place. Though I don’t actually remember, I’m sure he must have eventually pulled the tick out with his fingernails.

Ticks are indeed an ever-present danger But, the risk increases during spring, summer, and fall months. Not only are the creepy critters more abundant. People spend more time in tick environments then, too.

It’s amazing how many opinions persist about the best method for removing a tick once it’s attached to a person or a pet. Let me know of any “myths” about tick removal that you’ve seen but didn’t make the following list.

Some of the common myths about removing ticks… 

  • Burning them off
  • Freezing them off
  • Nail polish
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Alcohol
  • Perfume
  • Paint thinner
  • WD Forty
  • Dish soap
  • Hot soapy shower
  • Using your fingers

Yes, you can remove ticks by using your fingers, especially if you have long fingernails. But remember, there are two real dangers involved with this method. So, don’t try it!

  1. You run the risk of contracting a disease carried by ticks by coming in contact with the contents of the tick.
  2. You will likely squeeze some of the sludge, which carries pathogens into the pet or person you’re trying to protect. This can shorten the time required for transmission.

Some good news you need to know…

With most tick-borne diseases, you have at least 24 hours to find and remove a feeding tick before it transmits an infection. 

So, you have a full day to find and remove ticks and avoid some really nasty illnesses.

But remember, this only applies if the tick is not squeezed during the first 24 hours of attachment.

Okay, so what’s the best way to remove ticks?

So glad you asked! Medical professionals agree that using tweezers or a specially made scooping instrument is the only safe method to remove ticks.

Even when using tweezers, the correct procedure must be followed to prevent disease transmission.

You can see a great illustration at this link. By the way, I have one of their instruments and it’s the best one I’ve found for safely removing ticks.


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