Health/Life, Pets

How to remove a tick correctly

remove a tick correctly (2)

What is the best way to remove a tick correctly? Our guide shows you the proper procedure and outlines why you should remove them as soon as possible.

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Ticks are arachnids that lurk not only in the forest, but also in the garden. And they attack not only pets but humans as well.

If there is a tick bite, quick action is required. However, there are several options for correct removal. It is important to have the right tool to best way to remove a tick correctly, and proper post-treatment. In some cases, it may still make sense to see a doctor.

Check for ticks on the body

Finding the tick after the bite is usually a little more difficult. Because they mainly settle in places that are difficult to see, where the climate is humid and where the skin is particularly thin. Typical areas are the hairy areas behind the ear, on the groin, or in the back of the knee. However, you can just as easily find one in any other part of the body.

They can be recognized by their distinctive appearance: they are flat, around one and a half millimeters in size and have a brownish outer color, provided they have not yet sucked blood. At a later stage, however, their body takes on a greyish color and they hang on their skin like an oversized wart.

Why ticks are so dangerous

Similar to mosquitoes and fleas , ticks can also transmit various diseases. That is why it is so important to best way to remove a tick correctly as soon as possible. They are usually brought home after a walk, as they are located both in the forest and in all other areas where there are plants. Even in gardens and parks you are not safe from them.

The ticks prefer to attach themselves to different wild animals and soak up blood. The problem is that they also take in their pathogens and pass them on to them when they next choose a host.

If a tick is not removed early enough, diseases such as TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis) or Lyme disease can be transmitted. Although these can be treated medically, late effects are not excluded.

Instruments to remove a tick

Different tools can be used to remove a tick. In an emergency, it is also completely legitimate to use your fingernails, but ideally you should always have something suitable with you that has the right prerequisites.

Tweezers

You can use these if you don’t have any tick removal tools at hand. It is usually in every first aid kit and is also used as an alternative to remove splinters. Their tips are angled inwards. Models with flat, parallel tips are not suitable as there is a risk of crushing the tick with them.

Tick removal tools:

These are offered on the market in different versions. 

Tick pliers

The easiest handling is provided by special tick pliers, which are equipped with a few hooks that perfectly enclose the tick and thus greatly simplify removal without crushing the animal. However, there is always the risk that the tick’s head will break off, leaving its jaws still biting on the skin.

Tick hooks

An alternative is tick hooks, which can easily be hooked in between the tick’s neck and the skin it is biting into.

As we outlined below, you should then rotate the hook a few times smoothly but firmly rather than tugging on it. Rotating it forces the tick’s head to rotate and this makes them release the bite. If you tug on it, you might find the head breaks off, leaving the tick’s jaws still latched onto the skin where it is biting.

Tick cards

They offer the same advantages as the tick hook, but are minimally more complicated to use. Positive: You can carry the tick card in your wallet like an EC or credit card. They work in the same way as tick hooks: you should slip the notch under the tick’s jaws and then gently but firmly rotate them,

How to remove a tick correctly

A tick buries its head in the victim’s skin when it bites, and this is the key to getting it to let go, rather than pulling on the body and have it break off at the neck — leaving the head and jaws still embedded in the skin. The correct and safest method is to slip the tool between the tick’s neck and the bitten skin and then slowly but steadily rotate the tool a few times. This twists the tick’s neck and forces it to let go, making it easier to remove. If the head breaks off, and remains embedded, it is hard to remove and can easily become infected. See step-by-step illustration below.

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Whichever variant you choose, a tick should always be removed correctly. Most removal tools also come with instructions for use that should be read before use.

There are several ways to remove a tick as easily as possible. In order to do everything correctly, there is a golden rule when removing the animal: whether pulling or turning – you should be as close, slow and very controlled as possible:

  • Step 1:
    The tick is first grasped as close as possible to the skin surface using the existing instrument. It is important that you do not grab them by the body.
  • Step 2:
    Now the tick is pulled slowly and straight out of the skin. Alternatively, you can easily turn them, and this is preferred as the correct way to avoid the head breaking off and leaving the jaws in the bite..

Tip: It is quite possible to observe the behavior of the tick during the removal. Because, as a rule, she is forced to let go of the skin by the pull or the rotation. It is important to be as careful as possible to prevent the tick’s mouth tools from getting stuck in the skin.

  • Step 3:
    The remaining wound is now treated with a disinfectant. Alternatively, alcohol or an iodine-containing ointment can be used.

What if the tick is torn off?

Especially in areas that are difficult to reach, or inexperienced when removing them, the tick’s mouth tools can still get stuck.

It is generally the case that removal is not absolutely necessary, but it can make sense. This is because residues of saliva remain inside the mouthparts, which in turn contains germs and bacteria. The risk of infection is increased in any case. A doctor will perform the removal.

If you decide to leave the head in the skin instead, it will be rejected by the body itself after a certain time and rinsed out with the wound secretion. It seldom encapsulates and takes a long time to degrade. If scab formation occurs beforehand, it falls off together with the wound closure.

When to go to the doctor after a tick bite?

After a tick bite, the question always arises whether and when it is better to see a doctor. In most cases, only a slightly swollen reddening of the skin remains after removal, which subsides after a few days.

Instead, however, the so-called hiking blush can occur, which only becomes noticeable a few days after the removal. In this case, the red area becomes larger and moves away from the stitch area. Then treatment by the doctor is indispensable. He should be informed about the tick bite and can administer an appropriate medication.

If flu-like symptoms appear from the fifth day after the bite, a visit to the doctor is also advisable. Because diseases such as Lyme disease and TBE initially appear in the form of body aches and fever. However, as with almost everything related to a tick bite, the fastest possible treatment is essential to avoid permanent damage.