- By Jeff Olsen
Mayo Clinic Minute: Tick removal do’s and don’ts
Despite what you may have been told when you were younger, smothering or burning ticks is not a good idea. The correct removal method is even easier.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads. Read the script.
There’s the old way and the right way to remove a tick.
"Using matches or nail polish remover or Vaseline ─ you want to avoid those," says Dr. Bobbi Pritt, a Mayo Clinic parasitic diseases expert.
Dr. Pritt knows ticks – and how to properly remove them.
"You don’t want to squeeze the tick, because that could cause it to regurgitate some its stomach
contents into the wound," she explains. "You don’t want to burn the tick either. That could also cause it to regurgitate."
Dr. Pritt says the best tool for the job is a fine-tipped forceps or tweezers. Without squeezing the body, use the tweezers to grab near where the tick is attached to your skin.
"You would just pinch as close as you can to the bottom of the tick, and then just pull it out in a single
continuous motion," Dr. Pritt explains.
The goal is to remove the tick as fast as possible without damaging it. Dispose of the tick in a sealed bag or container, or flush it down the toilet. Then, clean the bite area and your hands.