30 Apr Do’s and Don’ts of Tick Removal
The Secret to Proper Tick Removal
Having written four books on the natural treatment of people who were diagnosed with Lyme disease, and treating over 10,000 people for the last 23 years, I adamantly encourage you to take tick removal seriously. The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” is true, and while the safe removal of ticks will not guarantee you won’t get infected, it definitely decreases your odds!
Every year it seems that the tick populations are getting larger, and tick-borne illnesses are the number one most prevalent types of microbial diseases in North America. Lyme disease is the fastest growing infection on the planet. There is even a new type of tick from Asia, called a Longhorned Tick that has been found in the United States that carries the risk of new tick-borne disease!
Once a tick bites you it spits it’s bacteria and virus filled fluids into your body(Tick Spit Research). The problem is how to get the tick off from where it has essentially a syringe needle stuck through your skin, without the tick injecting even more of the infectious fluids into your body as you physically remove it or irritate it causing it to back itself out of your skin.
There are many theories as to how to remove a tick that has become imbedded in the skin. Everyone seems to have their favorite, so before everyone comments on how and why their way or their device is better, I will say, yes there are a couple of devices that do a decent job of tick removal. It really comes down to what device you like. We now know that most of the home-recipes are incorrect, since the majority of ideas actually cause the tick to regurgitate (vomit) more bacteria into your body as you try to remove them.
Some BAD methods for tick removal:
- Putting essential oils, nail polish or remover, dish detergent, or any other substances on the tick to agitate it and cause it to pull itself out, all of which cause the tick to potentially vomit more saliva and stomach contents containing infectious microbes, before backing itself out of the skin.
- Using tweezers or the fingers, gripping as close to the head as possible. This sounds good until you attempt to do it without squeezing or crushing the body and head, which often leaves the ticks mouth piece still embedded in the skin and still squeezes more potentially microbe-filled juices into the your body. Using tweezers was the best method of removing ticks until the invention of the tick remover I am going to show you later in this article.
- Holding a match over the tick is an obvious mistake as it definitely causes the tick to vomit from the agitation. Other people use the heat from a hair dryer, which potentially has the same effect.
Anyone who has seen a blood-engorged tick can see that in order to become engorged with blood, its mouth has to penetrate a blood vessel. It is spitting right into your blood stream! Yuck!
Any removal method that squeezes or agitates the tick, causing the tick to back out, may increase the risk of more infectious fluids entering the blood stream, distributing more bacteria throughout your body.
Most people would agree that even one more bacteria or virus entering the body is unacceptable. It is interesting to see how passionate various people are about their way of removing ticks in one of the above ways. Remember, the point is not just to get the tick out, it is to get the tick out without it injecting more infectious fluids into your body in the process.
Possibly the best method of removing a tick:
Here is what I feel is the best way to remove a tick and why many experts think it works the best. Its mechanism of action is based upon the way a tick anchors itself in your skin with retractable hooks.
To understand why this works the best, study the structure of the mouth portion, called the hypostome and pictured here, generously provided by the Trix® Tick Remover company.
The serrated teeth are like rows of fish hooks that anchored into your skin and will hold tight with virtually any pulling action that you might use to remove the tick. However, the tick’s serrated teeth will literally fold flat if the tick head is rotated in either direction.
This is how the tick removes itself after it has finished feeding, now you know — it twists the teeth flat! Trix works in the same way as the tick uses to remove itself!
Without agitation of any kind to the tick, and without squeezing it’s bacteria-ladened digestive juices into your body, a syringe, the Trix noose gently slips over the tick, and with a twist the teeth lay flat and it slides out of the hole it made in your skin.
My favorite type of tick remover, the patented TRIX Tick Removal System®, made in Sweden by InnoTech. This device is available through various distributors worldwide (www.tickremover.com) I don’t sell these, however they are readily available online for under $10.
I like to keep the TRIX® in several places so that I can use it as soon as I find a tick on myself, others, or on a pet. You may want to buy several to keep in your backpack, kitchen drawer, auto glove compartments, boat, RV, fishing tackle box, hunting jacket, barn/horse stable/kennel, and where you work. Obviously, it is best to have a TRIX® handy when you first notice a tick embedded in the skin.
Here is how the TRIX® Tick Remover works:
- The Tick Remover is working by the lasso principle. It is very gentle, and easy to use on children and pets, who sometimes find it difficult to hold still.
- The design makes it easy to use in even in the ears, hair, thick fur and other difficult places. The remover also works very well even if fur or hair comes into the loop.
- The removed tick is always stuck at the tip of the remover and can be disposed of easily. The loop is made of special fiber. The loop is big enough to take care of most tick species in the world.
How to use the TRIX® tick remover:
TRIX is a very effective remover which easily and safely can remove the whole tick, big or small. Even the smallest tick nymph is easy to remove with this tool.
1) Press down the loop and put it over the tick, as close to the skin as possible.
2) Let go of the button and tilt the tick remover perpendicularly against the skin
3) Keep the green point against the skin and turn it one round between your fingers. Lift away.
4) If it is a very small tick: Place the green point close to the tick and press the point down a little into the skin to angle up the loop. Release the button, twist and lift.
1. Twist the tick away
If you look at the photomicrograph of the ticks mouth and suction organ (hypostome) you can easily see that if you pull straight outthe barbs grip and get even more stuck in the skin (that´s what barbs are for). The risk of pulling the tick apart dramatically increases.
If you twist instead, the barbs will release their grip easier and all of the front part together with the head can come along. Tests have shown that it does not matter what direction you twist, clockwise or counterclockwise gives the same good results.
2. Twisting also reduces pain
When you pull a tick away, it causes some pain in the skin which may cause some pets to really dislike the treatment. But if you twist it away with a tick remover which keeps the mouthpart in a firm grip, the removal will be painless and the pet usually do not even notice because the bite area is stunned by the tick.
3. Always twist the tick away when using TRIX TickLasso
Gives less pain.
Safer complete removal of whole tick.
Decreases the risk of infections.