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Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South debunks tick removal myths

In a perfect world, we would never have to worry about removing a tick from ourselves, a member of our family, or a pet. However, at some point in our lives, we will most likely be faced with the unpleasant task. Will you know what to do?

Most of the knowledge we learn about tick removal is passed down from our parents, grandparents or family members. With this in mind, the old way of removing ticks we were taught is laden with myths and misconceptions. Here are a few of the most common incorrect tick removal techniques passed down for generations.

Myth #1 —You should burn off a tick with a match to remove

I remember the thought of someone holding a hot match tip in close proximity to my skin sparked as much fear in me as a child as discovering the tick. In every circumstance, you want to remove a tick as quickly as possible, not wait for it to detach. Using heat to make a tick detach from your skin is ineffective and can easily burn your skin as well. Practice safety and never use an open flame or heated device of any kind for tick removal.

Myth #2 — You can suffocate an attached tick using petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly is not effective at eradicating ticks.Ticks breathe slowly, needing only 3-15 breaths per hour, so by the time a tick dies from suffocation, it may have passed disease-causing pathogens into your system.

Myth #3 — You should wiggle a tick to remove it

NO! When removing a tick, you want to pull upward with steady, even pressure. Moving a tick’s body from side to side or twisting it can cause its mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. Never wiggle a tick when removing it.

These three tick removal myths are just a few of the hundreds of incorrect tick removal methods being practiced and shared through the internet and on social media. It is important to remember that incorrect tick removal can lead to infection of the bite area and increase your chances of contracting a tick-borne illness.

It is imperative to follow the correct guidelines for removing a tick from yourself, your child or your pet. Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South recommends following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they are…

How to remove a tick

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  • Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.
  • If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.

Here is a video courtesy of the Tick Encounter Resource Center’s YouTube channel that demonstrates the technique for proper tick removal:

If you want to lower your risks for needing this tick removal information, call Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South today, we can eliminate up to 85-95% of ticks on your property with our Intensive Tick Treatment program. You can call us at (781) 297-0123 or email us at [email protected]. You can also fill out a contact form by clicking Alert the Squad to your left.

Mosquito Squad of Boston Metro South serves: Abington, Avon, Braintree, Brockton (02301), Canton, Cohasset, Dorchester (02124), Hingham, Holbrook, Hull, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Milton, Quincy, Randolph, Weymouth and Wollaston.

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