published Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Ask a Doctor: What is the best way to remove an attached tick?

Q: What is the best way to remove an attached tick?

A: If you find an attached tick on yourself or your child, do not panic. 1. Grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. It is preferable to use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, but if none are available, use your fingers (after washing well.) 2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick, as this can sometimes cause the mouth parts to break off in the skin. 3. After removal, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water and apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin. Note: Avoid coating an attached tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly or applying heat to encourage it to release. Your goal is to remove the tick as soon as possible. Call your doctor if you can't remove the tick or the head, if a fever or rash develops within the next two weeks or if the bite begins to look infected.

-- Dr. Tonia Cox, Pediatric Diagnostic Associates; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for a medical doctor, email it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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