To blood-thirsty ticks, you and your pets look a lot like walking buffets, and if you get close enough, they won't hesitate to climb aboard and settle in for a feast. Thanks to their knack for carrying and spreading diseases across regions, ticks are some of the more hazardous pests that you may encounter after spending time outdoors, particularly in grassy or heavily wooded areas. Discovering a tick latched onto you or your dog may be enough to make your skin crawl and does require swift action, but there's no need to panic, as you can remove and get rid of ticks with relative ease.

Closeup of tick on a plant straw
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How To Remove And Get Rid Of Ticks

Tick Facts

Warm and humid regions with tall grass and shrubbery are the ideal environment for ticks, but they aren't always so picky and can, therefore, be found just about anywhere throughout the world. Wherever there's easy access to a wealth of unsuspecting animal and human hosts, ticks are likely to be lurking somewhere nearby. Ticks are arachnids that are closely related to spiders. Their bodies are divided into two parts including a head and a body section with eight legs. Since they carry and transmit a wide range of diseases including Lyme disease, it's important to remove ticks from the skin as quickly as possible.

Tick Removal

The main tool required for the removal of ticks is a pair of tweezers, preferably the kind with a fine pointed tip. You'll also need a lidded container or a resealable plastic bag and some rubbing alcohol. Wearing gloves while you remove a tick is helpful but not required.

Using the tweezers, carefully grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and then pull straight up and out. Avoid twisting the tick since that will make it more likely for the mouthpart to break off and remain stuck in the skin. In the event that the mouthpart does remain in the skin, leave it alone and allow the skin to heal naturally. Once the tick is out, disinfect the tweezers and thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol followed by soap and water. If you notice a rash near the bite area or you develop a fever or other symptoms of illness, schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out any tick-borne illnesses.

Tick Disposal

In the event that signs of illness begin to develop after a tick bite, it's important to know exactly which type of tick did the biting. Keep the offending tick in a sealed container or take a clear digital image of it for future identification purposes if necessary. To kill a live tick, submerge it in rubbing alcohol. Dispose of ticks by flushing them down the toilet or locking them in a sealed container. Never touch a tick with your bare hands or try to crush it with your fingers.

Tick Prevention

Avoid ticks and the diseases they carry by wearing clothing designed to repel them or at least covering up as much as possible when spending time in areas where ticks are known to congregate. Tick repellent sprays are also available. Once you come back inside, thoroughly check the skin for signs of ticks, particularly near any warm areas of the body where moisture tends to accumulate. Protect your pets against ticks, too, by using tick collars or other repellents and thoroughly checking your pet's skin after outdoor playtime.