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How To Remove a Dead Tick

By Ray Dallas ; Updated July 27, 2017

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or, simply, the CDC), ticks are vectors for pathogens such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain fever in humans, both of which can have serious consequences. Therefore, it's important to remove a tick, whether it's dead or alive, as quickly as possible.

Because the tweezers might touch an open wound, sanitize them using rubbing alcohol.

Using the tweezers, pinch the skin on either side of the tick, then pull the tweezers away. It's possible that the tick is not yet dead, and if this is the case, it will detach itself once enough pressure is applied to the area around the skin, according to Lymesite, a Lyme disease support site.

If the tick is dead or it doesn't detach, pinch it with the tweezers by pressing them as close to the point of attachment on the skin as possible, grasping the tick near the embedded mouth parts. Be careful not to crush the body or head, as this may force more toxins into the bloodstream.

Pull outward with steady force. Do not twist the tweezers, as this also may force more fluids into the skin or result in more mouth parts being left behind.

Clean your hands with soap and water so that you do not infect the wound.

Clean the wound with soap and water. The CDC says not to be alarmed if mouth parts are left behind, as Lyme disease cannot be transmitted this way.

Disinfect the tweezers using the alcohol.

Place the dead tick in a clean, labeled glass jar if you fear that it may have carried Lyme disease. Label the jar, including the date you noticed the tick and the location where you believe you acquired the tick.

Send the tick to a lab for disease testing. Some private labs specialize in this, and public-health labs perform testing (see Resources).

Warnings

If the tick is alive, do not kill it by smothering it in petroleum jelly, alcohol or burning it. This will likely agitate the tick and cause it to inject infectious agents into the bloodstream.

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