I hate ticks


I hate emails forwarded by well-meaning but careless people that contain false and misleading information.

And I hate gratuitous exclamation points.

So as you might guess, this email I received today had me reeeeeeally annoyed:

Please forward to anyone with children . or hunters, etc!! thanks!
A School Nurse has written the info below — good enough to share — And it really works!!
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 sometimes difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc.

The email goes on to say that if you place a cotton ball soaked in liquid soap on a tick embedded into your skin, it will gently back out.

No. No. No. A thousand times no.

Or should I say, No!!!!!

The only reliable way to remove a tick is to gently lift it with tweezers. (see FDA’s How to Remove a Tick)

And to put that email nonsense to rest, here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has to say:

Do folklore remedies work?
No. Folklore remedies, such as the use of petroleum jelly or hot matches, do little to encourage a tick to detach from skin. In fact, they may make matters worse by irritating the tick and stimulating it to release additional saliva or regurgitate gut contents, increasing the chances of transmitting the pathogen. These methods of tick removal should be avoided.


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