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How Do I Remove an Engorged Tick?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Removing an engorged tick can be tricky, since it is hard to avoid squeezing the tick and thus pushing blood or saliva back into the animal or person. You should always remove a tick with gloved hands using tweezers or the tips of your fingers and pulling with an upward motion. It is also important that you are careful to do so gently, as to avoid injuring the person or animal the tick is attached to.

When removing an engorged tick, it can be difficult to avoid squeezing it too tightly since it’s harder to reach the head region of the organism. Ticks are blood-eating arachnids which feed off most mammals. They are most common in heavily wooded or grassy areas, although they may occur just about anywhere. Many times ticks carry diseases which are passed on through their saliva into their hosts.

To remove an engorged tick safely, you should begin by putting on fitted gloves. These can be made of latex or rubber, so long as they adequately cover the hands and fingers to avoid getting blood on them. If you can reach the tick's mouth area, use tweezers and very slowly pull upward from the tick’s head until it is detached. If you can’t reach the mouth due to the tick’s size, gently grab the its backside and remove the tick.

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Once the engorged tick has been sufficiently removed, place it carefully in alcohol. Make a note of the date so you can accurately tell a doctor or vet when the tick was removed in case of an illness. Clean the area where the tick was attached carefully with rubbing alcohol. Watch the location closely over several days for any severe redness, swelling, or a “target” design to appear as these could be signs of an illness.

Additional warning signs to watch for after a tick bite include fever, sweating, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, rash and stiffness. These symptoms may be hard to recognize in animals, but your pet may become lethargic or have trouble eating if it becomes infected. Any of these signs should be investigated further by a trained medical professional for appropriate treatment.

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