Safe method to remove a tick without leaving the head stuck in the skin that works with small or large ticks and is easier than tweezers.
Each spring and summer, warmer weather and spending more time outside and camping outdoors increases the chances of exposure to nasty tick bites. The question is not “if” but “when” it will happen. And, when it inevitably does, how to remove a tick safely to minimize the chances of disease?
I have a friend who lives on a farm in Kentucky with his wife and five children. During tick season, he and his wife perform tick checks every night on all their children right before bathtime. They take ticks very seriously in their home because the Lyme disease carrying kind are very prevalent in their area.
It’s not just Lyme disease that is a potential risk either. The Journal of General Internal Medicine published an article by Susan Wolver, MD, and Diane Sun, MD, which identified a rising trend of red meat allergies from tick bites.
When one of my children was a fairly young baby and not even mobile yet, a tick lodged itself into the top of his head. Most likely, the tick dropped out of a tree onto his head, so don’t think your children are safe just because they aren’t hiking in the woods or walking in the grass!
If you discover that your child or pet has a tick that has lodged itself into the skin, here is the safest, easiest and quickest way to remove it.
How to Remove a Tick Safely and Quickly
The best way to remove ticks is using tweezers according to most authoritative sources. However, there is a new gadget called the tick twister remover that works even better.
My friend in Kentucky says that they used to use tweezers, but the tick twister is far superior and easier to use. It can be used to remove ticks from both pets and people.
Each tick twister tick removal set (it only costs about $6) has two removers inside: one large and one small. The different size is to allow for safe removal of both small and large ticks.
This ingenious device created by a veterinarian to safely remove ticks regardless of a person’s expertise has the following benefits:
- It is easier to use than tweezers especially for small ticks.
- It removes the tick without squeezing it, which greatly reduces the chances of disease transmission.
- It ensures the head and mouthparts of the tick are removed along with the body.
- It can be used for both large and small ticks.
Every home with children and/or pets should have one of these! It should also be included with camping equipment.
Safe Removal Steps. Better than Tweezers!
There are three steps for removing a tick using the tick twister.
First, you select which tick twister to use. If the tick is large, use the larger tick twister. If the tick is small, use the smaller one. Pretty simple!
Second, you grasp the tick between the head and body using the hook end of the tick twister. The picture below shows how to do it.
Third, simply twist the tick twister gently to easily and safely remove the entire tick out of the skin. That’s it!
After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the affected skin with alcohol. If there is any irritation, a dab of this herbal salve does wonders to quickly heal the skin.
Warning About some Tick Removal Recommendations
Some sources recommend pulling a tick straight out of the skin as the best method of removal.
This is very dangerous advice, because trying to pull a tick straight out will almost ALWAYS result in the head staying stuck in the skin. This is because ticks frequently lodge into the skin at an angle. They don’t usually burrow straight in perpendicular to the skin’s surface.
If you must use tweezers because you don’t have the tick twister remover available, be sure to pull the tick out at the same angle it went in.
This will give you the best shot at removing the head along with the body. In other words, grab the tick very firmly and close to the head as you can and pull out on a straight line but the same angle it burrowed in. I hope this makes sense.
It’s a little difficult to describe in words. This is the method taught to me by my Dad, who is a retired family doctor. Using this method, I’ve never left a tick’s head in the skin of any pet or person in over 40 years.
Of course, using the inexpensive tick twister is the best method of all. You don’t have to worry about angles – you simply twist the tick out of the skin!
How to Repel Ticks
This article describes the method for preparing an herbal yarrow tincture which is very effective at repelling ticks so you don’t have to remove them in the first place.
You ideally need to spray yourself every 2 hours or so.
Note that yarrow has been reputedly found by the US Army to be as effective as DEET in repelling ticks.
I have neurological Lyme disease with 4 co infections. I lived in Minnesota where the disease is very much widespread. I went years without a correct diagnosis until I located a Lyme literate doctor in Mpls. By that time I nearly lost my life as I was so sick. I lost my job Feb. 2017. I have no income. I was a Orthpedic PA. I still am not in remission. I have been living with my 79 yr old mother for 3 yrs. If you have a tick embedded you must remove & save it. There is a address I do not have in front of me. You should ALWYS go to a doctor & receive Doxycyling for at least 3 months if you develop a bulls eye rash. DO NOT hesitate. do not apply anything to the tick as yes, they will back out but they regurgitate the bacteria into your system. Applying a salve is not going to prevent fron developing. Lyme disease. There none are few Lyme literate in the Miswest, but you must take the antibiotic. If you are lucky it will kill the bacteria. Minnesota Lyme is your best source for information. Do not do the old method of cigarette spot on, herbs or salves & Vaseline. I am 47 yrs old and because of this killer disease I have nothing of my former life or working in the medical field, which I did for 18 yrs.
Ticks don’t get in like screws , therefore Don’t twist the tick out. Please. Don’t use Vaseline , heat, essential oils. And don’t use tge twister removal as you are risking leaving parts of the tick screwed off, literally.
Instead, pull the tick out with scissors or a ticked off tool straight out without wiggling, twisting, turning, etc.
Follow up with taking astragulus root to counter any possible infection transfered from the tick.
I was taught by my Mother to use vaseline. It suffocates the tick then you can pull it out with tweezers.
Thanks for the advice! I did not even know that there is such thing as a tick twister removal set and I think that this is really great that it can remove the tick without squeezing it. A friend of mine complained yesterday that there are too many ticks around his house in the countryside and I think the best solution to the problem will be to find a tick removal service. Hopefully, this will help.
Just thought I would add some Mom wisdom, take it as you will…
my mama told me ????… something she learned when I was 3 and had a tick lodged in my head, ticks burrow in clockwise, and that you should twist them out counter-clockwise…fast forward 10yrs and my dog ended up covered in engorged ticks…I proceeded to heed my mama’s advice and it worked great!
So the twisting method has been known about for some time! It just took this French veterinarian to come up with a neat and inexpensive device to put it into practice! Neat. Thanks for sharing.
I’ve always used either a lighted match or a dab of alcohol. Hold the match near, or touch the alcohol to it’s back. No pulling at all. The tick will let go immediately on it’s own.
The soap trick worked like a charm!!! Thanks so much!
What type of soap did you use? Antibacterial hand soap or dish soap? Thanks.
The ACTUAL reaction I just had after reading this post, would be EXTREMELY rude of me to share……so I’ll get right to it!!
This information couldn’t be further from the truth!!! I’ve NEVER read someone’s post online, no matter what the topic was, and felt this angry afterward that I had to leave a comment about it!!! Might it be safe to say that this nurse with the not so brilliant idea, actually never said anything of the sort regarding this method of tick removal, and that by the time you heard it through the grapevine, it became misconstrued? I mean you don’t even know her name?
This isn’t just my opinion that removing ticks w NEEDLE NOSE TWEEZERS is the safest way……it’s a proven fact…..yes, you do need to know exactly how and where to grab the tick or just like anything else when not done right, could turn disastrous!!!!
I agree I have never pulled a tick out with tweezers and ever had it grow back or a head left behind I usually pull them off my cat and then burn their legs and part of the body and throw them out into a bush ……by the time I usually can get them they are the size of a jellybean and would die anyway cause they are to big to reattach I would think.
PS: For anyone who is gonna say OMG why would you not see the tick until its that big its because I pull them big ticks off a stray that has a little house I built for him in the winter and I also put food out for him….so some times he will not come around for a couple days and then other times he does but he is also a feral cat which makes tick removal hard to do but have been successfully removing them off him with no problems.
Thank you for the advice. I too have a stray cat and today found an engorged or 1/2 engorged tick on, of all places, her right upper lip. Being an outdoor cat and a stray, whose trust I have earned, I dread having to try to attempt tweezing this from the lip area ! I think it is an American Dog Tick. It is not a deer tick, too big. It is just hanging off her lip like one big blob ! almost like a growth. Do you know if an immediate application of flea and tick medicine will kill off this already partially engorged tick ? I would imagine it might, but may be too late for any type of possible blood born disease.
It is so dicey trying tweezers in this area of her body, as I am afraid I will move to quickly and jerk thereby leaving the head in her. Also, we don’t have very good tweezers. I am going to try again tomorrow to remove it.
Do not use tweezers as you can squeeze the head and induce more of the tick’s various illnesses into you. Thursday I agree with you otherwise that this post is awful. A deer tick does not have a white dot on its back it has it on its stomach. A white dot on the back is the lone star tick, a much more dangeroust tick. As far as the best way to deal with tick bites besides prevention is a tick spoon. They almost always pull the entire tick out without squeezing it or irritating the area. This will leave you with a small dot that you must monitor for further symptoms.
Wrong. I’ve pulled countless ticks out of my children with tweezers and have NEVER had a head left behind. In EVERY case, the tick comes out alive, still moving (freaking out, actually, as it’s been interrupted from it’s host), and I kill the shit out of it and flush it away. “Suffocating” a tick causes it to vomit it’s stomach contents (and all it’s diseases and bacteria) back into the host. BAD IDEA. Just use tweezers, as we’ve been doing for centuries.
I tried this method tonight, had one on my back and couldn’t reach it to “pull” it out. Soaked a cotton ball and then covered area tick was, then gently rocked the cotton back and forth over tick and it came right out!!! It took about 10 min start to finish… THANKS for sharing, wish I would have known this trick years ago.
You may want to consider a Lyme test? I can’t believe they’re sharing this information and people are using it. I hope it did not regurgitation any disease as you pissed it off thanks to this woman’s advice.