Five methods commonly advocated for tick removal from a human or domestic animal were evaluated. The application of petroleum jelly, fingernail polish, 70% isopropyl alcohol, or a hot kitchen match failed to induce detachment of adult American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis Say) attached for either 12 to 15 hours or three to four days. Use of forceps or protected fingers enabled satisfactory removal of 29 adult American dog ticks without leaving the mouthparts or attachment cement in the host skin. Four different methods were used to pull lone star ticks [Amblyomma americanum (L)] off the host using forceps (twisting, pulling steadily or jerking straight up, or pulling parallel with the skin). None of the mouthparts broke off, but, contrary to the American dog tick, the cement remained in the skin for all 22 of the Lone Star ticks. It is recommended that the tick be grasped as close to the skin as possible with curved forceps; if these are not available, use tweezers or protected fingers. Pull straight up with steady even pressure. If cement or mouthparts remain, then extract if that is practical. Disinfect bite site before and after tick removal.

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