Ticks can be dangerous, both to pets and humans, and tick bites should be taken seriously. Lyme disease is a very real, very scary illness so it’s incredibly important that you know how to remove ticks safely and how to clean the bite once you do.
During summer months, you should check yourself and your children for ticks every day. If you have a pet, they should also be checked. Pets who have a tick can bring them inside where they can fall off and attach themselves to humans.
Talk to your vet about medications they can offer to keep ticks (and fleas) off your cats and dogs. (Collars and home remedies aren’t as effective.)
Removing the Tick
1. Use tweezers to remove a tick, never your bare hands.
2. Take hold of the tick as close to its mouth as you can get. The mouth will be the part that’s stuck in the skin. It’s important that you do not grab the tick by its stomach. You’ll force the infected fluids into your body.
3. Pull the tick straight out without twisting it. You don’t want to do anything that would cause the head to separate and remain stuck in the skin.
After the tick has been removed:
4. Put the tick into a sealed baggie and put it in the freezer. That way you’ll have it if you need to have a doctor look at it. I know that sounds weird, but better safe than sorry.
5. Wash the area with soap & water. A little peroxide wouldn’t hurt either.
What to watch for:
Itching or rash, redness at the bite, inflammation, fever, headache, joint pain, or any flu-like symptoms mean you need to see a doctor. This is when you’ll be glad you saved the tick in the freezer.
PS: You may have been told that it’s a good idea to smother ! a tick with Vaseline or to light a match and touch it to the tick. Neither of those methods are safe! If you can’t get the tick out with tweezers, please see your doctor.