This tip is great, because it works in those places where it's sometimes difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc.
Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20), the tick will come out on it's own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away. This technique has worked every time I've used it (and in KY, that was frequently), and it's much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me. Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can't see that this would be damaging in any way. I even had my doctor's wife call me for advice because she had one stuck to her back and she couldn't reach it with tweezers. She used this method and immediately called me back to say, "It worked!"
Thanks to Martin and Dear Webby for this tip.
I'm guessing this would also work for dogs?
Editor's Note: I think it would work for dogs or cats. (07/02/2006)
My niece was visiting a boyfriend in Kentucky last year and got a tick that no one could seem to get to come out. She ended up going to the ER at the hospital to get it removed. Thanks for the great tip! (07/06/2006)
Rec'd this in my urban legend update tonight:
Claim: A good way to remove an embedded tick is to swab liquid soap on it.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
A School Nurse has written the info below:
I had a pediatrician tell me what she believes is the best way to remove a tick. This is great, because it works in those places where it's some times difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc.
Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20), the tick will come out on it's own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.
This technique has worked every time I've used it (and that was frequently), and it's much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me.Ad
Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can't see that this would be damaging in any way. I even had my doctor's wife call me for advice because she had one stuck to her back and she couldn't reach it with tweezers. She used this method and immediately called me back to say, 'It worked!'"
Origins: Although this particular e-mail began circulating on the Internet in May 2006, the advice it attempts to impart is far older. Household lore is replete with tick removal suggestions that involve covering or coating the embedded arachnid with a substance it will find objectionable. Other long-lived suggestions include touching a lit match or hot needle to the tick's rear and tickling its underside in an effort to persuade it to release its bite.
However, those in the know about tick removal warn against these home remedies. Countermeasures of such nature sometimes do little to encourage a tick
to detach from skin and may make matters worse by stimulating the creature to release additional saliva or regurgitate its gut contents, acts that increase the chance of its transmitting a pathogen to its host.
In addition to their being repulsive-looking bugs that survive by latching onto warm-blooded victims to suck blood from them, there is another reason to regard ticks with horror: they can deliver a deadly payload of disease to those they are making a meal of. These arachnids feed by burrowing their heads into skin, a method that introduces their body fluids into their victims. If those fluids are disease-laden, those microbes will be passed to the ones being dined upon. However, it generally takes at least 12 to 24 hours of feeding before an infected tick can spread disease to its host, so speedy removal of these parasites is therefore key to avoiding tick-borne illness, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichia.
As to how to remove a tick: With tweezers, grasp the parasite close to the skin and pull it straight out.
If you must use your fingers rather than tweezers for this operation, cover them with a tissue during the procedure and wash them after the tick has been dispatched.
Do not twist or jerk the tick; this could cause the creature's head to separate from its body, leaving its mouthparts lodged in your skin.
Wash the bite with antiseptic and place the tick inside a plastic container marked with the date in case it is later needed for verification of illness.
Nail polish and petroleum jelly are not good ideas for tick removal because the tick has enough air to complete its feeding before dropping off.
To reduce your chances of becoming a tick's dinner:
Avoid tick-prone areas whenever possible.
When in areas where ticks may be present, wear clothing that covers the arms and legs, with cuffs fastened and pants tucked into boots and socks.
Use a tick repellent that contains DEET and reapply it every 1-2 hours for maximum protection.
After any outdoor excursion into areas where ticks are commonly found, adults should check themselves and their children. Your four-legged friends should be checked for ticks too, because dogs and cats can also be felled by the diseases spread by these blood-sucking creatures.
Easy Tick Removal is WRONG
Please remove this from the website because it gives dangerously wrong information. It is an urban myth and old wives tale. Please read the Lyme Disease Foundation's instructions for tick removal at http://www.lyme.org/ticks/removal.html (06/15/2007)
Easy Tick Removal
I've never encountered anything easier! I used this on my dog and there were no matches, no tweezers, no pain and no mess! (12/17/2007)
Easy Tick Removal
I just tried to remove a tick from my dogs head with the liquid soap and cotton ball method. I must let everyone know it absolutely does work. The tick in its entirety came out on the cotton ball and all is well. So it is definitely not an old wife's tale. (11/09/2008)
Easy Tick Removal
Tweezers tend to squeeze the tick and inject the juices. My preferred method is tie a simple knot around the head end with some cotton thread. Polyester thread is stronger. You then pull it out with both ends of the thread. Fast or slow pulls both hurt a bit. (12/23/2008)
Easy Tick Removal
Hi Folks. I have a great 14 year old Jack Russell Jake (a.k.a. "Turbo") He had a tick on his neck. Using the Soft soap in a cotton ball trick, I held on to the tick for 1 minute. It came loose easily and completely. Head and All! Isopropyl alcohol didn't work. Dish detergent didn't work. "Soft Soap" hand soap did. Much better than tweezers!
Thanks cmatarese!A very good tip! Kirk and my smiling "Turbo" unit :-) (05/07/2009)
By Captain Kirk
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