The Correct Way To Remove Ticks

The Correct Way To Remove Ticks

Tick removal is extremely important for your health and wellbeing. While ticks may seem like any other common pest, they have the potential to be quite dangerous. If ticks are not removed in the correct way, they can still cause damage.

What Does A Tick Look Like?

The Correct Way To Remove Ticks

Ticks are not the same as ladybugs or flies. While they can be roughly the same size as a ladybug, they are usually black and have slightly longer legs. They cannot fly and are frequently found in tall grass or weeds.

There are several different types of ticks. Many of them reside in North America and can be found in several habitats.

  • The Backlegged Tick is one of the most common. This tick is also known as the Deer Tick and has very dark legs and a flat, oval, shape. Aside from their legs, they usually have an orange or brown color and are approximately ⅛ inch long. Backlegged ticks have been known to carry Lyme disease.
  • The Rocky Mountain Wood Tick is usually found in wooded areas in the United States. Wood ticks are also oval-shaped and brown. When they are engorged, they often change to gray. These ticks can be ⅝ inch long and have six legs. Deer ticks can carry infectious diseases.
  • A Brown Dog Tick has six legs and is also brown. Its oval shape is approximately ½ inch long and can grow larger when feeding. Brown dog ticks can live their entire life indoors. They are often found in dry areas. While these ticks are usually harmless to people, they can transmit diseases to dogs.

Regardless of the type of tick, they are all generally small arachnids that require blood for their nutrition. While not all ticks carry disease, many ticks can.

How Are Ticks Dangerous?

The Correct Way To Remove Ticks

Tick bites can happen to anyone. Both children and adults are equally susceptible to the effects of a bite regardless of their sex. Depending on the type of tick, certain diseases may be spread through a bite.

Tick-borne diseases generally begin within a few days after a tick bite. If you see a tick, pick it off, and then forget about it - it does not mean you’re in the clear. Tick disease symptoms can sometimes start weeks after the bite.

One of the most common tick-borne diseases in America is Lyme Disease. Ticks that carry this disease typically live in grassy or wooded areas. This particular disease has a variety of symptoms and can be difficult to properly diagnose.

Some of the early symptoms of this tick-borne illness include rash, fever, fatigue, chills body aches, muscle stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes. After receiving a tick bite, a small, red bump will usually appear at the site. A ring encircling this area frequently distinguishes this type of bite from an insect bite.

Later symptoms can include more serious problems from Lyme disease. A rash may spread to other parts of the body and joint pain is frequently reported. One of the scariest aspects of Lyme disease is the neurological impact it can have on an individual. Neurological problems can include Bell’s palsy and impaired muscle movement.

Thoroughly removing a tick is key when protecting your health. If the tick is not fully removed, the likelihood of catching a disease can increase.

Right vs. Wrong Way To Remove A Tick

The Correct Way To Remove Ticks

Finding a tick can be scary. Since tick bites are rarely felt, they can go unnoticed for long periods of time. If you stumble across a tick already attached to the skin, it may look engorged or firmly secured to the area.

Before immediately removing a tick in the fastest way possible, slowing down can ultimately help in the long run. To successfully remove a tick, all of the tick must be disengaged from the skin. Not just the part you can see.

When removing a tick, do not twist. One of the easiest ways to remove a tick is by grabbing a piece of tissue and twisting it off the skin. Sometimes ticks can latch on firmly and twisting may seem like a simple way to get it off. When twisting, it is likely to break the tick’s body from it’s head, leaving part of it still inside.

Drowning a tick is also not advised. By submerging the tick in rubbing alcohol, it may still be alive. A tick can take hours to die from rubbing alcohol. This can create more time for it to pass infection.

The right way to remove a tick only requires tweezers. Tweezers are strong enough to get the job done without hurting your skin. When using tweezers, make sure to use the fine tip to grasp as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Tweeze as close to the tick’s mouth as possible.

Remember: "Unscrew-counterclockwise".

Once a tick has been removed, it’s important to clean the affected area. This means thoroughly washing your hands and skin for at least thirty seconds before rinsing. Applying rubbing alcohol or iodine scrub to the bite is often recommended.

How To Prevent Tick Bites

The Correct Way To Remove Ticks

Tick bites are often gentle and may feel like a tiny pinch. Many people don’t notice when they’ve received a tick bite. If a tick bite goes untreated for a long period of time, this could cause physical symptoms.

Ticks that are known for carrying Lyme disease are often found outside in tall grass. To prevent these ticks from potentially causing illness, make sure to dress appropriately.

Tick clothing examples include:

  • long sleeve shirt or flannel.
  • long pants
  • boots or sneakers (not sandals or open-toe shoes)

By walking on a trail or indented path, you can steer clear of some of the taller grass. It may be a good idea to periodically check for ticks while outdoors. Before hiking or camping in the woods, spraying tick repellent is highly recommended.

After spending time in wooded areas, take a long shower. Checking for ticks with clothes on can cause you to miss potential bites. As soon as you are able, shower with hot water and wash your clothes immediately upon returning home.


Tick bites can have serious consequences. By properly removing the entire tick from the skin, you can potentially prevent future diseases. Only grabbing half of the tick is not sufficient.

George Jones

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