There's a sinking feeling when you find a tick lodged in your skin. Not only are they simply gross, but there's also that fear in the back of your mind that you may become sick.
The best thing to do is remove it as quickly as possible.
Gerhard Dobler, a tick expert at the German army's microbiology institute, explains his preferred way of getting rid of the little bugger: with a set of fine splinter-tip tweezers.
"With the tweezers, I grab the tick as close to the skin and pull it out," explains Dobler. If you don't have a pair of nice tweezers on hand, a basic pair from a nail care kit also works.
Other common removal tools include a tick removal card or a tick lasso. There are even electric tick removers, says Dobler.
Which one works best? Dobler is diplomatic: "Everyone should use the tool that they can handle best." The most important thing is to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible.
If a small black spot remains after you pull out the tick, it's no cause for alarm: It's just the stinger, which is not infectious, reassures Dobler.
Without the body, the stinger can't pass on the viruses responsible for Lyme disease or tick-borne encephalitis.
And since that's the case, you don't need to try to use your nail or another tool to try to dig it out: At most, doing so will just infect the area. Instead, you just need to wait.
"The skin will repel the stinger on its own within a few days."
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