The best way to remove a tick is to pull it off gently, leaving the tick and its mouth parts intact. This can be difficult because some ticks cement their mouth parts into the skin. Every effort should be made to remove this cement if it does not come out with the tick. Applying heat, alcohol, petroleum jelly or fingernail polish to an embedded tick is not effective. The following is the recommended procedure:
- Use blunt curved tweezers or a thread.
- Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with a steady, even pressure.
- Do not twist or jerk the tick because this may cause the mouth parts to detach and remain in the skin.
- You should pull firmly enough to lift up the skin.
- Hold this tension for 3 to 4 minutes and the tick will back out.
- DO NOT squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick because its fluids may contain bacteria.
- Immediately dispose of the tick. If you have any concerns, put the tick in a plastic bag and freeze it. If you get sick you can take the dead tick with you when you see your provider.
- Immediately wash your hands and the affected area with soap and water.