Tick Safety 101: Proper Tick Removal
Most ticks do not carry diseases, and most tick bites do not cause serious health problems. But it is important to avoid and check for ticks, and to remove a tick as soon as you find it. Removing the tick completely may help you avoid diseases such as Lyme disease that the tick may pass on during feeding, or a skin infection where the tick bit you.
Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach. Studies done on these "folklore remedies" have shown that ticks actually attach themselves with greater determination rather than backing out. Often times, these methods also make the tick vomit into the bite site, thereby giving the host (you) whatever potential viruses or diseases they may be carrying.
Our staff have tried over a dozen supposed "foolproof methods" for tick removal, and the two most effective methods have been to use a Tick Twister (shown above), or simply by using needle-nose tweezers that allow you to grab even poppy-seed sized nymphs close to the skin.
Even if the hypostome (the mouth part that is buried deep inside the host's tissue) breaks, the germs that can make you sick are further back in the tick's body, in the salivary glands and gut. That's not to say that the area cannot become infected however. Be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect the site of any removed tick bite.
There are a lot of old wives tales out there about how to "best" remove a tick... But did you know that most of them don't work or can even make things worse? They can actually irritate and traumatize ticks stimulating it to release additional saliva or causing them to regurgitate gut contents, which could include Lyme disease or other tickborne illnesses.
Besides good old fashion splinter forceps (tweezers), the other device that we highly recommend is the Tick Twister Pro. This device (unlike the other most common device on the market - the Tick Key) has an opening that is fine enough to capture the head of a black-legged (commonly called "Deer") tick. In fact, we consider it to be one of the most effective tick removal tools on the market today.