How to Remove a Tick

The aim is to remove all parts of the tick's body and mouth parts and avoid compressing the tick's body causing it to release additional saliva or regurgitate its stomach contents into your bite wound.  

The best option for tick removal is to use a specialised tool such as the O'TOM Tick Twister as pictured above.

  1. Choose the most suitable hook, according to the size of the tick
  2. Engage the hook by approaching the tick from the side (the body of a tick is flat) until it is held
  3. Lift the hook very lightly and TURN IT (screwing or unscrewing)
  4. The tick detaches by itself after 2 or 3 rotations

DO: cleanse the bite site, tweezers and/or tick removal tool with antiseptic before and after removal.
DO: wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
DO: save the tick in a container in case you develop symptoms later and label itwith date and location.

DO NOT: squeeze or twist the body of the tick.  This may cause the head and body to separate, leaving the head embedded in your skin.
DO NOT: use your fingernails to remove a tick. Infection can enter via any breaks in your skin.
DO NOT: crush the tick's body. This may cause it to regurgitate its infected stomach contents into the bite wound.
DO NOT: try to burn the tick off with cigarettes or matches, apply petroleum jelly, nail polish or any other chemical. Any of these methods can cause discomfort to the tick, resulting in regurgitation, or saliva release.

Other tick removal methods

  • If you do not have one of these tools use a pointed set of tweezers.
    Grasp the tick firmly and as close to your skin as possible. In a steady motion, pull the tick's body away directly outwards without jerking or twisting.  It may put up quite a bit of resistance!
  • If you have no tools at all do not delay removing the tick. 
    Take a loop of cotton thread, tie it around the tick's mouth parts and pull gently upwards.

Lyme Disease

Tourist information offices are not obliged to warn tourists if there are holidaying in areas where TBE or Lyme disease are prevalent.

The Tick Alert campaign aims to raise awareness of tick-borne diseases both at home and abroad. Tick Alert warns UK holidaymakers and travellers to be aware of the infections that ticks can cause, including Lyme disease which is prevalent in the UK and Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE) in mainland Europe. 

The Health Protection Agency are currently running a scheme to investigate ticks, details available here or from the HPA.

Prevention is better than cure

  • Use an insect repellent that is effective against ticks
  • Avoid wearing shorts in rural and wooded areas, tuck trousers into socks, or cover all exposed skin with protective clothing
  • Inspect your skin for ticks and remove as soon as possible
  • Avoid unpasteurised milk which may also be infected with the TBE virus in endemic regions

All images copyright H3D.