large tick

Removing Ticks

What is the best way to remove a tick?

Found a tick? Or want to know the most effective tick remover?

The tick season has started! We have already taken one tick off our seven year old’s head.

Ticks climb up grass and other plants to try and latch onto passing animals, you’ll do just as well as a deer.

They can feed off you for up to 3 days. It is best to remove them as quickly as possible as they can carry some very serious diseases. Use this link to see the NHS advice on Lyme disease symptoms. 

Best Tick Tool?

I find that no one tick tool works for ALL of the stages and sizes of a tick and the different places you might find one.  

The best ‘all rounder’ is the tick twister. I carry these in my first aid kit and we keep some on the bathroom shelf for that “eeek” moment in the shower.

We are giving away 200 pairs of these to local businesses this month to raise awareness of ticks and our local first aid courses. 

The tick card is great to keep in a wallet and can do a good job, as long as the tick is ‘in the open’. The card struggles to get into some places that you might find a tick. 

By keeping it in my wallet it means I often have it with me. As an active climber with a young family and dog, this is a big plus for me. 

The Lifesystems tick remover is great for awkward places and getting little ticks, but you have to be really careful to get under the tick’s body, between the tick and the skin to avoid simply crushing the tick.

This precision is why normal tweezers might cause problems as they can crush the tick and potentially force the contents of the tick into the wound or leave part of the tick embedded.

Tick tools that just don't seem to tick the box

Sorry for that joke.

I have tried several tick tools that use a mini lasso. The quality of the plastic has meant they broke and we did have some difficulty in getting into parts of the body due to the long handle. We needed to be careful not to crush the tick, not always easy in real life with a young child or dog. 

Another tool that suffered from brittle cheap plastic was the grabber one. It acted like a mini mechanical digger. It was very hard to get the right part of the tick and increased the chance of crushing the tick. Having tick tools tough enough to survive in a first aid kit in the workplace or to keep in a pocket for dog walks and adventures in the mountains is a big plus for me.

Burning the tick or covering it with vaseline are not recommended as they increase the chance of getting a tick carried disease or leaving part of the tick in the wound.

Useful further information

Dr James Douglas, local Lochaber GP who has worked really hard on raising awareness about ticks and lymes disease.

Highland First Aid's Facebook page

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