Removing a tick from a person as soon as you can is very important to reduce the chance of catching Lyme disease, a serious illness which left untreated can be difficult to cure.
Removing a tick
How to remove a tick from a human (adult or child)
- Ticks need to be removed in a particular way to ensure that all parts of the tick are removed and to stop it releasing additional saliva or regurgitating its stomach contents into your bite wound.
- Remove the tick ASAP – the longer a tick stays embedded in your body, the greater risk there is that it will transmit bacteria that can cause serious debilitating diseases such as Lyme disease.
- Remove all parts of the tick’s body – to ensure that you remove the whole tick it’s best to use a special tick remover tool. Tick removers are cheap and widely available. We use the O’Tom Tick Twister which comes as a pack of two different size tools and the Lifesystems Tick Remover Card which also has two different-sized tools plus a magnifying glass. The Trix Tick Lasso is more expensive but is particularly good for pets or hairy parts of the body (such as the groin) as it won’t trap hairs.
- Ticks can vary in size from a poppy seed to a small spider so it’s useful to have these two tools to help remove different size ticks. The tools are suitable for use on people and animals and have easy-to-follow instructions. They are small and light so can easily be carried in a rucksack or pocket and the credit card can be put in your wallet. I never go out for a walk without them.
Picture of a tick
Video: removing a tick
The video below shows how to use the O’Tom Tick Twister but read the instructions too just to be on the safe side. You can support the charity, Lyme Disease Action, by buying these and insect repellent through their shop.
Removing a tick with tweezers
Although removing a tick with tweezers is possible it’s better to use a specialist tick removing tool if you have one. Tweezers squeeze the tick which could make it regurgitate its stomach contents into the bite passing on bacteria if it’s infected.
Removing ticks from dogs and cats
To remove ticks from dogs and cats, the safest and most efficient way is to use a specially-designed tick tool like the O’Tom Tick Twister which can be used on both people and animals.
After you’ve removed a tick
- Clean the tool with antiseptic and also the bite site.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Put the tick in a container in case a doctor asks for evidence that you have been bitten (label it with date and location).
- Public Health England runs a Tick Recording Scheme (TRS) and asks member of the public to post them any ticks you find.
- Take precautions to stop being bitten by ticks in the future. Read: What is Lyme disease & how to avoid tick bites in humans
Are you a business owner in the Scottish Highlands and Islands? Display a free poster.
If you own a business or let out a holiday property in the Highland and Islands of Scotland, help spread awareness about the dangers of ticks and how to remove them by displaying this poster kindly provided free of charge by Lyme Disease Action on your noticeboard or in your property info folder.