If you need to remove a tick, don't do it like this.
Growing up out in the middle of nowhere Indiana, I have had my fair share of ticks pulled off of me randomly throughout my life. I would hate to think of all the different ways I've heard how to best remove a tick, and unfortunately most of them are all dead wrong. According to the experts, there is only one sure-fire way that works, but here are five common terrible pieces of advice before we get to that.
Be honest, which of these tick removing tactics have you performed yourself?
1. I know! Burn it off!
Tell me if you have heard this one before; the best way to remove a tick is to stick a match up against it, or a hot needle. Then, when the tick feels the heat, it will pull out to avoid burning up.
Actually, this is terrible. About the only thing you can accomplish with this is burning the tick up and making it puke inside you. Science has proven the tick will not remove itself. Perhaps this has worked for one guy one time, but on average, nope.
2. I heard you can suffocate them with nail polish...
I've actually tried this technique before. I used clear nail polish just to see what would happen. The answer? Nothing happened. Well, the tick did get a nice clean looking finish. After two or three hours of waiting on it to suffocate and remove itself, I just pulled it out and called it a day.
As science has proven, when ticks are embedded in a host, they barely breathe. Suffocating a tick takes days, if not more.
3. Well if not nail polish, how about vaseline?
Nope, nope, nope. Just like with the nail polish, this doesn't really do anything other than moisturise the tick's probably leathered feet. Again, suffocating a tick takes a very long time.
4. Okay... so you just squish 'em real good?
This is a method often utilized by kids and city folk who have no idea what they are doing. They often feel that by squishing the "bug", it will just fall off. Again, no. As terrible as this next part sounds, all the blood the tick had consumed up to that point, mixed with it's own digestive fluids, would then squish back inside you. To top it off, it wouldn't fall off either. It would just stay there and get infected.
5. Wait! Twist them out!
Whatever old timer passed around his thoughts that ticks screwed themselves in like a screwdriver needs to be dug up and punched in the face. Ticks do not screw themselves in. If you try to unscrew a tick, more than likely you will pop it's head off and squish all their insides inside of you in the process. Then comes infection!
Here's what works every time.
According to the CDC and the American Heart Association as it relates to First Aid Procedures, the recommended way to remove a tick is to use tweezers and apply firm steady pressure right at the point where the tick's head connects to it's body, but not on the body directly. Eventually, the tick will come out. That's it. Anything else other than that can result in problems for both you and the tick.
What you do after you remove the tick is up to you. Just don't be weird about it.