Avoid Tick Bites and Remove an Embedded Tick

Edited by Lor777, Charmed, Rose B, Debbie and 23 others


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Ticks are small parasites related to spiders that embed themselves in the skin of humans and other animals, including household pets. Although tick bites are rarely harmful, ticks may transmit serious diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.

Ticks are common in all outdoor areas of the United States, and may be passed to people via their pets. Ticks often become lodge in the scalp, nape of the neck, ankles, genital area or skin folds. They should be removed promptly and completely from people and household pets.

Tick bites often go unnoticed. Although small, ticks embedded in the skin are usually visible. Tick bites are characterized by itching; a small, hard lump on the skin; and redness surround the bite.


How to Avoid Tick Bites

  1. 1
    Avoid tick infested areas, such as thickly wooded brush, whenever possible.
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  2. 2
    Use an insect repellent on your skin whenever you plan to be outdoors for any length of time.
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  3. 3
    Wear light-colored clothing.
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  4. 4
    Wear long shirts with long sleeves and long pants.
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  5. 5
    Tuck your shirt inside your pants.
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  6. 6
    Tuck your pants inside your boots or socks.
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  7. 7
    Check your body thoroughly and remove any ticks you find
    If you're with a friend, check each other.
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How to Remove an Embedded Tick


NEVER SCRATCH A TICK BITE--The body of the tick may break off, leaving the head embedded in the skin. Ticks should be removed carefully and promptly to help prevent getting any of the diseases they carry, including the head.

  1. 1
    With small tweezers, grip the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible.
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  2. 2
    Pull straight up and out using gentle, steady pressure.
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  3. 3
    Extract the tick slowly and firmly to ensure complete removal.
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  4. 4
    Use soap and water to clean the area of the tick bite.
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  5. 5
    Apply analgesic.
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Lyme disease is transmitted by small deer ticks, common in summer and early fall. Symptoms develop 3 to 32 days after a bite. Common regions for the disease are the Atlantic Coast, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and Oregon. However, sporadic cases have been reported in 46 states, and more recently in Canada. Lyme Disease can be very dangerous. Look for these signs:

  • Spot or rash near the bite site. (bulls eye rash)
  • Neck stiffness.
  • Headache or nausea.
  • Weakness.
  • Muscle or joint pain or achiness.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is usually transmitted by wood ticks in the West, and by dog ticks and lone star ticks in the East and Southeast. This disease generally occurs in warm weather, and symptoms begin suddenly, two to 14 days after the bite. Look for these signs:

  • Nausea, Vomiting.
  • Muscle Pain.
  • Loss Of Appetite.
  • Headaches.

As The Disease Progresses, Symptoms May Include:

  • Rash.
  • Abdominal Pain.
  • Joint Pain.
  • Diarrhea.

What Does a Tick Bite Look Like

A tick bite has the appearance of a swollen pimple, and will show signs of redness - the site of the bit will look 'angry'. The area will be tender, if not painful. On the outer area of the skin surrounding the bit, as pictured above, there will also be a red circular, ringed area. And there will be a tick's bum sticking out of your skin.

Alternative Removal Method: Knotted Dental Floss or String

Some people may be uncomfortable with the idea of putting thin, metal, pointy tweezers near sensitive areas. Dental floss or strong string may be used to loop around the tick. A straw may be used to guide the string correct around the head of the tick.

  1. 1
    Place the straw over the tick holding it at a 45-degree angle
    This helps when placing the loop in the correct position around the tick's head.
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  2. 2
    Create a loop
    Lay your string or floss out flat and create an Overhand Knot.  
    1. Lead over line. Loop the end, called the lead, of the floss over itself.
    2. Slip the lead through the loop.
    3. Pull slightly tight. Pull the lead further through the loop to tighten the overhand knot. Do not pull the knot completely tight.
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  3. 3
    Lower the knot
    Slide the knot down the straw or place the knot over the tick's body.
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  4. 4
    Slide the knot directly over the tick's head
    Important: The knot must close over the tick's head. Place the string as close to the skin as possible before tightening.
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  5. 5
    Tighten the knot
    Pull both ends of the floss to tighten the floss or string around the ticks head.
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  6. 6
    Remove the tick
    Pull the end of the floss up and away from the skin in a slow and smooth motion.
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How To Remove An Embedded Tick From The Genital Area

The floss method is recommended if you find the idea of pointed tweezers near your scrotum uncomfortable. Most would. Moistening the area first makes navigating through pubic hair easier. A magnifying glass is useful for getting a firm grasp on the tick's head. Do not try to remove the tick if you cannot see it. Instead, consult a doctor or have a family member remove the tick for you.

  1. 1
    1. Gently cup the scrotal in your palm.
    2. Isolate the tick with your thumb and index finger. Start with both fingers on each side of the tick then gently move the fingers away from each other while pulling the skin taunt and moving pubic hair away from the tick.
    3. Secure the tweezers or dental floss close to the skin and around the tick's head.
    4. Steadily pull the tick away from the scrotum.
    5. Inspect the tick for missing head or mouth parts.
    6. Wash the scrotum area with soap and water
    7. Once dried, apply an analgesic if you are experiencing discomfort.
    8. Store the tick in a container and freeze it.
    9. Inspect the area daily for any signs of infection.
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  2. 2
    1. Grip your penis firmly.
    2. Using your thumb and index finger, spread the skin around the bite out until it is taunt.
    3. Position the tweezers or string around the tick's head.
    4. Pull the tick directly away from the penis with constant force until it is removed.
    5. Inspect the tick for any missing parts.
    6. Wash the bitten area.
    7. Apply an analgesic if you experience discomfort.
    8. Save the tick in a container in the freezer.
    9. Inspect the area daily for signs of infection.
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How To Remove An Embedded Tick From The Vaginal Area

Ticks like to attach in warm places. Unfortunately, the vaginal area meets the ticks ideal habitat needs. It is highly unlikely that a tick will attach itself to the labia minora, due to the restriction of air but they will gladly attach themselves to the surrounding clitoral hood and labia majora. If the tick is attached to your perineum or near the anus then have a loved one or doctor remove the tick.

  1. 1
    Labia Majora
    1. Apply pressure to the surrounding area. Press one hand gently onto the area near the tick.
    2. Spread the skin taut. Use the index finger and thumb to pull the skin taut and move pubic hair away from the tick.
    3. Attach your preferred removal method.
    4. Remove the tick by applying steady pressure to the string or tweezers while pulling the tick straight out.
    5. Inspect the area and tick for missing parts.
    6. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
    7. If you experience discomfort then take an analgesic.
    8. Store the tick in a bag or container and put it in the freezer.
    9. Inspect the bite area daily for further signs of infection.
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  2. 2
    Clitoral Hood
    1. Place your palm on your lower abdomen and mons pubis.
    2. Pull the pubic hair and skin around the clitoral hood away from the tick until the bite area is taut.
    3. Secure tweezers or tie the knot around the tick's head close to the skin.
    4. Pull the tick up and away from the clitoral hood steadily until it is removed.
    5. Inspect the tick and the bite for missing head or mouth parts.
    6. Wash the area with soap and water.
    7. Take an analgesic if you experience any discomfort.
    8. Store the tick in the freezer.
    9. Inspect the area daily for infection.
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How To Remove An Embedded Tick On A Dog Or A Cat

  1. 1
    First, you have to locate where the tick is by pushing the fur away from the site
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  2. 2
    Get tweezers or a tick removal tool with thin ends and grip the tick sideways near its head.
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  3. 3
    Try to pull it quickly so that the wound will not be infected.
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  4. 4
    If you cannot remove it by pulling, you have to twist it gently then pull quickly.
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Pictures Of A Tick Bite After The Tick Has Been Removed

When the tick is removed, it may leave a red spot like this.


Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Do not squeeze the body of a tick.
  • Squeezing a tick can increase the chance of getting a disease carried by ticks.
  • If you are unable to remove a tick or you think part of the tick is still embedded, seek medical attention.
  • Keep your ticks! Save any ticks and put them in the freezer. If you suspect that you have contracted a tick-borne illness, the tick will help the doctor discover what illness may be affecting you.
  • Never try to suffocate a tick. Suffocating a tick forces them to regurgitate. Since the tick is still attached to an open wound, they will vomit directly into your body. The saliva and stomach contents of ticks carry the pathogens that cause Lyme disease and other rickettsial infections.
  • High-risk areas. If you are certain the tick was a deer tick, and you live in a high-risk area for Lyme disease, do not hesitate seeking medical attention. Go to the doctor, take the tick with you, and ask for an antibiotic treatment. Lyme disease is easily treated if caught early. If not, it can become a lifetime of agony.
  • When the tick is removed, you have to clean the wound or the tick bite with antiseptic.
  • You may use antibiotic ointment to prevent further infection.
  • To discharge the tick, do not crush it.
  • You may put the ticks in an enclosed box or small container and throw away.
  • You may also burn the box to make sure the ticks won't get away.
  • Better yet, freeze the little bugger, as if you become ill, it will help the doctor to know exactly what bit you.

Questions and Answers

Do ticks embed themselves under dogs skin?

Ticks that are classified as "arachnids", feed on their hosts for survival. These blood-sucking parasites are considerably active during the fall and winter seasons and are most commonly found outdoors in the woods. Your dogs can end up with these unknowingly, whenever they play near trees and grasses. They do embed or attach themselves to the dog's skin with their mouth, and then they begin to feed on the dog's blood in order to complete its life cycle. A tick can latch onto its host for hours or even days depending on the type of tick your dog caught. The most common type of ticks that attach on canine is the American Dog Tick and the Brown Dog Tick, both of these are much more active during the hot summer months. It's important to quickly remove the ticks the moment you see them on your dogs. These are very easy to catch as they are quite visible and are mostly seen in the head, neck, and leg regions of the dog, especially in areas where there is less fur, such as behind the ears. It's important to immediately seek the help of your veterinarian in the removal of ticks to ensure no further complication such as infection, anemia, and paralysis as well as transmission of diseases such as Lyme disease, which is associated with - not a tick infestation, but one single bite.

I have small tic spider-like creatures around my pubic area. Is there a medicine I can use?

What you most likely have is an STD commonly called Crabs. The medical term is Pubic Lice or Pthirus pubis. Malathion lotion or Permethrin cream can be bought over the counter in most pharmacies. You will need to apply the lotion that you choose all over your body, focusing on your eyebrows and hair around the anus. Basically, you will want to cover every surface of your body. Follow the directions on the package for how long to leave the lotion on. 12 to 24 hours is the usual time frame. Treat your eyelashes either with an ointment safe for eyes or an insecticidal shampoo.

Wash or get rid of all your bedding, towels and clothing that you have worn in the past few weeks. You will need to clean the house thoroughly and vacuum your mattress to get rid of any bugs or their eggs. Follow up with the treatment 7 days later. If you still have an infestation after that, you will need to see your doctor for another medical alternative.

No matter what, there should be no sexual activity during your treatment. This includes close body hugging or kissing. You do not want to spread this to someone else and then they pass it back to you after treatment.

Hi, I removed a tick. I found them on my dogs about 3 weeks ago. Now I found one on my right side hip (of course where I cannot see really good). I'm not sure if the head was completely removed.

Had been scratching in that area for about a week. I thought maybe had a scratch that was a scab and keep scratching. Then I noticed it was attached and had my husband removed it with tweezers. It looked dead when he removed it. It was coming out in pieces, but not sure the head was removed, as it's still bothering me. The area was red and puffy, and although this has gone down somewhat you can still see a black spot in middle. I don't have insurance and it's starting to scare me. Any advice besides going to the doctor? Thank You.

You may have an infection from the bite. Treat first with an antihistamine cream to see if this soothes the itching and redness. If after a few days you still have the symptoms you will want to seek medical advice for a possible infection. Along with the antihistamine cream, apply an antibacterial ointment.

Naturally you can use lavender essential oil and coconut oil. Apply to the area several times a day and keep it covered. If the black spot is still there several weeks later, it is not a scab and instead a piece of the tick. Your body should naturally reject it but it may need to be removed still. You can soak the area in warm water and then have your husband try to extract it with tweezers. Keep in mind that you do not want to open up more than the first top layer of the epidermis without a physician present.

I'd suggest using ice on the area, to reduce swelling, before trying to remove the remaining tick.

How do I know if I have an embedded tick?

I have a spot on me that itches a little and feels funny. How do I know if it's an embedded tick?

A tick bite will often have a very distinct look, almost like a target. Here is an image of one.

If you see that something is embedded in your skin, it's possible that it is a tick head, or maybe even a splinter. Just use tweezers to gently remove whatever it is that is embedded in your skin. If you are unsure of what you are doing or are uncomfortable with removing an embedded object from your skin, ask a friend or relative for help, or go to see a doctor.

If you do remove a tick head from your skin, place it in a container or plastic bag and bring it with you to the doctor. Identifying the species will help in treating you if you begin to show symptoms of infection.

How can I tell for sure if this is a tick or not?

We just came back from a highly tick infested area. Both my wife and son have suspicious marks on their body. I am afraid of using a tweezers on something that may not even be a tick at all. My son has something that looks like a possible bug bite, but it looks to be growing in diameter since the initial bite. My wife has 3-4 red dots on her stomach that were not there prior to our trip. How can I tell for sure before using tweezers to remove? Under a magnifying glass they don't appear to be shaped like a tick.

You all may have come into contact with Chiggers. These bugs are small and red/brown. Their bites can develop into a rash or welt like you are describing on your son. You will all want to take a shower and scrub like you never have before. Take baking soda and make a paste with sugar and a few drops of apple cider vinegar. White vinegar is fine if it's all you have at home. Rub in a circular motion and then rinse off. Chiggers can stay on the body for up to 7 days feeding off human blood.

There is a tick on my private parts and every time I try to get it off it bites harder. Please help?

Every time I try to pull it off it hurts worse and the tick bites harder.

You need to grasp the tick with the tweezers as close to the head as possible and hold that position for up to a minute before the tick releases. Pull up and out with even force. If the head is still attached you will have to remove it as well. Soak the area with warm, soapy water for several minutes. If you still have some remnants of the tick there, either try again or go see your doctor.

I have Chronic Lyme Disease. Thinking back to when I may have been bitten, I once had a boil on a testicle.

Have you ever heard or seen tick bites on testicles that resemble boils? Pictures?

A tick bite in that region of the groin can get infected and cause a boil. You may never really determine when you got Lyme disease, but think back to when you had a bite of some sort and flu-like symptoms. This will most likely be the time of infection.

Hi, thank you. This is a question about small caraway seed-sized black critters that appear to be just under the skin surface on my scrotum. Help!

I tried several rounds of pyrethrum based anti-lice shampoo, with no results, so I think these is some kind of tick? We do live in a heavily deer-populated area. No red target rings around these critter's bites though

You more likely have Pubic Lice. If you have already used shampoos to treat it, try the cream option. You will have to leave it on for 12 to 24 hours. You will also want to change all your bedding and clean your house thoroughly to get rid of any of their larvae.

My husband and I noticed a little bump on our dogs neck and we assumed it was a sore from going under neighbors fence all the time. Well it's getting bigger and someone mentioned it might be a tick under the skin. How do I find out if it is?

Is it possible he has a tick embedded under his skin

Ticks do not completely burrow under the skin. What your dog could have is a fly egg infestation. The Wolf fly will lay their eggs under an animal's skin. Do not remove these yourself. At this point, a veterinarian should see the dog. Your dog could also have an infection from the contact with the fence, and is in need of an antibacterial of some sort.

How big can a tick grow? How sick can a tick make you? How big is the female? How big is the male?

I have no details, and I like learning.

There are several varieties (species) of ticks. The males are usually smaller than the females. Some ticks can grow the size of a quarter if they are left on the host body to feed.

Doctor gave 2 - 100mg Doxycycline Hyclate tablets for bite (tick?) I woke up with at 7/6am. Looks like a possible tick bite.

The bite is on the web of my hand between my thumb and index finger. It's the size of a pencil eraser head and is round like a bulls eye (circle within circle and almost looks like a burn). There's a spot that hurts to touch, but went away a day after taking the 2 antibiotic pills prescribed. Note that I didn't notice the "bite" until about a half hour after I woke up on 7/5am. When I touch that part of my hand, it hurts. I should also say that I was outside by a campfire the two previous nights and also have a dog that sleeps on the end of my bed. Can you tell me if you know whether I would need more antibiotics than the 2 pills the doctor prescribed in order to prevent Lyme disease (if I indeed was bitten by a tick and it was carrying Lyme disease)? I have read that you should insist on a 4 week course of antibiotics to be safe. I don't want to overreact, but also don't want to under react and regret that I hadn't done more. I should also say that I don't have confidence in my family physician's opinion on this, because he seems to be very laid back and takes the "don't worry" approach on things. I haven't called him yet about this (another physician at his practice prescribed the 2 pills on Sunday, 7/5). Please help with anything you know. Thank you!

Some antibiotics are long acting for up to 10 days or more. If you still feel that you need a different course of prevention, speak with your doctor about your concerns and your desire to stay on antibiotics longer. That will mess with your gut flora though, so you will want to take a probiotic to get your system back again after long-term treatment. Natural yogurt is great.

Hi, I was out camping this past weekend. I was laying with my partner and rubbed his back. I felt a lump that felt like a scab. I'm pretty sure it was a wood tick. Over his shirt, I squeezed it!!. Today my thumb feels swollen, hot and hurts to use. Oh the thumb is what I used to squeeze it.

What do you think happened?

You're probably experiencing an allergic reaction. Treat the area with an antihistamine cream and antibacterial ointment. You can also soak your thumb in Epsom Salts to see if that relieves the irritation.

Should I bring my dog to the vet?

Hi there, and thanks for your help. My dog had a large 2cm tick on its cheek and I removed it, but before I did, I squeezed it a bit and I am not sure the head has been fully removed. There is swelling around it, but I read that's normal.

Swelling can be experienced, but if it stays that way more than 24 hours, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian. He could have the beginning of an infection. The cheek is a sensitive area on a dog. There are important glands there. You may have irritated them when you were removing the tick.

If I remove a tick using essential oils will it regurgitate?

Will a tick regurgitate if removed with essential oil. Asking about oils. not sure if that would be required as suffocation or not

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We don't have any pets my house but my husband found a tick on himself?

Hi My name is Khensani . This morning my husband felts something on his belly and it was a tick full of blood. . Could there be more of those in the house?

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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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