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Busting Tick Removal Myths

So you’ve found a tick on you after messing around outside. How do you get rid of it? There are a lot of answers to this question, but only one of them is correct.

This article will outline the top three wrong answers you might get when asking about tick removal. Once you learn the right way to remove a tick, it’ll be smooth sailing for the rest of the summer:

Using Heat

One of the most common backwoods tricks for getting rid of a tick is to use a match or a lighter and try to scare the tick off. People believe that the heat is enough to get the tick to run away in search of shelter, but in reality, the opposite is true.

Ticks are resilient, and the exposure to heat might make them rupture or spew nastiness into your skin before it even thinks about letting go. Before you strike a match, remember that you’re only likely to make the situation worse. 

Smothering the Tick

Another home remedy for ticks includes smothering them with petroleum jelly or even nail polish. Since ticks breathe through holes in their body, the idea is to suffocate them so they die and then release their grip.

What people don’t realize is that ticks breathe quite infrequently, sometimes as little as once per hour. If you plan on suffocating a tick, be prepared to have it hanging around for a very long time. 

Twisting and Yanking

Trying to get a tick to lose its grip is a losing battle every time. You’re not going to make good progress by trying to twist or yank a tick off of your skin. What this often does is rip the tick out, leaving pieces of its mouth behind. If you don’t remove the leftovers, you run the risk of disease and infection just as if the tick was still in there.

Another technique to avoid is using your hands to remove a tick. If a tick has already latched on to your skin, your fingers are more likely to crush it rather than safely remove it. Use needle-nosed tweezers instead to secure their tiny bodies as close to your skin as possible. Instead of yanking, use steady upward pressure until the tick pops off. 

Even if you do everything right, there’s a chance the tick has left something nasty behind. Clean off the bite with rubbing alcohol immediately after removal. To dispose of the tick, the easiest way is to flush it down the toilet. 

Ways to Prevent Ticks

If you live in a wooded area or do a lot of outdoor activities, ticks are a consistent pest you’ll have to deal with. You can keep them off of you by wearing long sleeves and pants if you can stand the weather.

At home, Harris’ Flea and Tick Killer can be sprayed can be used both indoors and outdoors to kill ticks before they get to you. If you have pets, make sure you check and bathe them after a long day of playing outside so they don’t track any in. 

Ticks are no fun, which is what summer is all about If you end up getting one, just make sure you remove it the right way so that you can return to your activities like nothing ever happened.