Gone in a tick!

July 1, 2004

Parents often rush into my office complaining that their child has a tick embedded in his skin that they have been unable to remove with tweezers

Parents often rush into my office complaining that their child has a tick embedded in his skin that they have been unable to remove with tweezers. I reassure them that I can remove the tick without using any sharp objects and that the child won't feel a thing.

Here is my tick-removal method: Take a 2-in by 2-in piece of gauze, wet it with warm water, and lather it with soap (any kind of soap will do). Place the soapy gauze pad over the tick—but don't grab the tick—and rub in a counter-clockwise direction. This maneuver "unscrews" the tick and removes it whole. Children love my technique because it doesn't hurt and they get a chance to see the tick still moving about on the gauze pad!

Matthew Abel, MD
New Milford, Conn.