Good Question: What's The Best Way To Remove A Tick?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tonight on Good Question, perhaps the most hated parasite in the modern world is the tick. There are several ways to remove ticks, but not all are recommended or effective. What is the best way to remove a tick?

Good question.

They are small, creepy, and can be very dangerous. Ticks can cause all kinds of problems if not removed quickly, like infections. And some carry tick-borne illness, like lyme disease. Serious stuff.

If you spend any time in the outdoors here in Kansas, you have likely found yourself the main dish at a tick buffet. In my case, after every tick, it seems everyone wants to tell me how to best remove it. Some tell me to smother the tick with petroleum jelly – suffocate the little critter. Others say touching the tick with a hot nail or match will do the trick. But there’s really no trick to best remove a tick.

Doctors say the best method to remove a tick is the most obvious: pull it out, and remove it as soon as possible. But don’t use your fingers. Instead, use blunt, medium-tipped, angled forceps. But be careful. Don’t crush, cut, puncture, or squeeze the tick. Also, don’t jerk or twist it.

Get as close to the tick head as possible. Pull upward in a slow, steady motion. The entire tick should come out. Inspect the tick. If the head or mouth parts are still in your skin, then it may be necessary to see a doctor for removal.

Bottom line, check for ticks often if you are spending time outdoors near trees or bushes.

If you have a good question, send it to me at, or find me on Twitter at I’ll answer your good question every Thursday on KAKE News at 10.

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