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How to Safely Remove Ticks

Home remedies are not always the way to go.

Scientists have predicted an increase in ticks this year due to the mild winter we had in the southeast. Because of this, tick-borne illnesses are on the rise, and we want to do everything we can to educate our customers on safe tick removal.

Ticks carry a host of diseases, but one of the most prevalent is Lyme disease.

There are many home remedies for tick removal. Some people would tell you to drown the pest in peppermint oil or apply heat, but that is not good advice. Ticks transmit disease through their saliva, so you want to get the tick off you as soon as possible. Home remedies typically involve applying a substance, like oil or nail polish, to the tick to drown or suffocate it. These remedies do not get the tick out of your skin very soon, though. They can actually irritate the tick, causing it to salivate even more. These remedies will cause the pest to detach eventually, but it is best to remove the tick as soon as you can. Have a tick removal kit handy in your camping supplies and in your home to react to the tick quickly.

Part of that is being prepared for ticks at all times by having a tick removal kit in your camping supplies or at your home. This puts the person affected at increased risk of tick-borne illness.

The proper way to remove a tick is to use a pair of fine tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull up with steady, even pressure. Do not twist as that can cause some parts of the tick’s mouth to detach in the skin, causing further irritation. Take a look at this graphic from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to learn how to properly remove a tick.

The key to tick removal is early diagnosis. You need to get the tick out of the skin as soon as possible to decrease the risk of contracting a disease. If you remove a tick and feel you should go to the doctor, you can place the pest in a sealable plastic bag or place it on scotch tape and fold the tape over to trap the pest inside. Some doctors may be able to identify the tick. This can help them rule out certain diseases. There are several different types of ticks, and not all of them spread the same diseases. You can also dispose of the pest by flushing it down the toilet or by putting it in a sealed bag and throwing it away.

If you develop a fever or rash after a tick bite, contact your doctor immediately. You could have contracted Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Powassan virus, or other tick-borne illness.

For more information about ticks, look at our other blog posts or visit