How do I remove a tick?

Peter DeLucia
Health Education
If you find a tick on your skin, you need to remove it by pulling straight up, using fine-tip tweezers by the mouthparts of the tick. In this video, public health specialist Peter DeLucia, MPA, discusses the best way to remove a tick properly. 
Tick removal must be performed immediately (within 24 hours on average) to avoid infection with the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) or Lyme disease. Tick removal must be performed very carefully to ensure that bacteria cannot escape from the tick. Remove the tick by pinching it near its mouth with tweezers and pull slowly and steadily. Afterward, sanitize your skin with alcohol or soap. You should watch for any signs or symptoms of RMSF in case you were not able to remove the tick before infection.
If you find a tick embedded in a person’s skin, it must be removed.
  • With a gloved hand, grasp the tick with fine-tipped and pointed tweezers that have a smooth inside surface. Get as close to the skin as possible. Pull slowly, steadily and firmly with no twisting.
  • Do not try to burn off the tick.
  • Do not apply petroleum jelly or nail polish to the tick.
  • Put the tick in a container or jar with rubbing alcohol to kill it.
  • Clean the bite area with soap and water, and an antiseptic.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment if it is available and if the person has no known allergies or sensitivities to the medication.
  • Encourage the person to seek medical advice because of the risk of contracting a tick-borne disease.
  • If you cannot remove the tick, seek advanced medical care.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Ticks are one of the leading carriers of diseases in the United States, causing tens of thousands of people to contract Lyme disease each year. The safest way to remove a tick from your body without exposing yourself to diseases is simply to pull it out.

Ticks are the most common cause of bad problems resulting from insect bites. The tick has in itself viruses and other contaminants that are quite detrimental to our well-being. If you try to burn it or put gasoline on it, it irritates the tick and the tick regurgitates its fluid back into you.

To avoid the tick releasing its germs into your body, remove it without bothering it. Get your tweezers, flip the tick upside down, grab the mouth of it and pull hard. Don't twist it. Just pull it, because the barbs go straight in.

If the tick's head remains in your skin after you remove its body, don't worry because the saliva and viruses are contained in the tick's body. If you want to get the head out, go ahead and remove it. But if you're a mom and your kid has a little bit of the head left in, the body will push it out by itself. You don't need to strap the kid down and go after the tick's head. That's not where the infection is. The infection was the body, and that's already gone.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.