This time of year, it's essential to guard against ticks when you're enjoying a walk or hike in an area with grasses and shrubs. Ticks can transmit serious diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease, and Tularemia.
- Use your bare hands to remove the tick.
- Yank out the tick by its abdomen.
- Twist or jerk the tick as you're trying to remove it. This can cause its mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin.
- Crush a tick with your fingers.
- Apply nail polish or petroleum jelly to the tick. (It's believed by some that 'suffocating' the tick in this manner is effective. It's not.)
- Use heat to burn the tick's body. This may actually release the contents of its abdomen into the host, which can cause infection or spread disease.
- Freeze the tick. Just as above, this can cause the abdomen contents to release into the host.
- Use a pair of fine-point tweezers.
- Grab the tick as close to its head/mouth as possible -- as close to your skin as you can.
- Pull the tick out slowly, with light pressure.
- Put the tick into a small clear plastic bag or jar and freeze it, in case a medical professional needs to identify it.
- Thoroughly clean the tick bite area with rubbing alcohol.
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water after handling the tick.
Here's a visual depiction of the tick removal process from the TickEncounter Resource Center: