mouthparts have reverse harpoon-like barbs, designed to penetrate
and attach to skin. Ticks secrete a cement-like substance that
helps them adhere firmly to the host. If you find that you or
your pet has been bitten by a tick, it is important to remove
Use fine-point tweezers to grasp the tick at the place of attachment,
as close to the skin as possible.
Gently pull the tick straight out.
Place the tick in a small vial labeled with the victim's name,
address and the date.
Wash your hands, disinfect the tweezers and bite site.
Mark your calendar with the victim's name, place of tick attachment
on the body, and general health at the time.
Call your doctor to determine if treatment is warranted.
Watch the tick-bite site and your general health for signs or
symptoms of a tick-borne illness. Make sure you mark any changes
in your health status on your calendar.
If possible, have the tick identified/tested by a lab, your local
health department, or veterinarian.
the mouthparts break off in the skin - should I dig them out?
have heard two competing opinions about this.
viewpoint states that the mouthparts can cause a secondary infection,
and should be removed as if it was a splinter.
viewpoint was shared with us by a pediatrician in a hyperendemic
area. He states that parents can do more harm by trying to hold
down a child and dig out the mouthparts with a needle. He instructs
his families to leave the mouthparts, and that they will come
out on their own as the skin sloughs off.
should be taught to seek adult help for tick removal.
you must remove the tick with your fingers, use a tissue or leaf
to avoid contact with infected tick fluids.
not prick, crush or burn the tick as it may release infected
fluids or tissue.
not try to smother the tick (e.g. petroleum jelly, nail polish)
as the tick has enough oxygen to complete the feeding.