I have recently been bitten by a tick. Obviously I don't want to catch some disease (or infection). In my search for how to remove it, I discovered this page:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention's How to Remove a Tick

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick...
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure...

Here's the UK equivilent:

NHS' Lyme Disease: How to Remove a Tick

...remove it by gently gripping it as close to the skin as possible, preferably using fine-toothed tweezers. Pull steadily away from the skin...

They both seem to agree that the best way to remove a tick is to pull it off with tweezers.

But then I came across this science program from Australia. A transcript is available for those unable to view it. The interesting part is here:

Dr Jonica Newby: ...Now this is what most of us will do - we'll either scratch it off or reach for the household tweezers. Now this is precisely the worst thing you can do. As you remove the tick, you squeeze it and all its contents go straight into your bloodstream.

Assoc Professor Sheryl van Nunen: What they need to know is household tweezers are tick squeezers.

Dr Andrew Ratchford: If you squeeze the tick, that causes the allergen to enter the bloodstream, which causes the anaphylactic reaction. If you remove the tick correctly without squeezing it then you don't have those problems.

Dr Jonica Newby: So what should you do? Well, you should go to the chemist and buy a spray containing ether. So something like Wart Off, or Medi Freeze Skin Tag Remover. Place the nozzle conveniently over the tick and spray. Feels cold - freeze the tick, and wait about ten minutes for the tick to die. Once it's dead, you can just brush it off.

Assoc Professor Sheryl van Nunen: 'Freeze it, don't squeeze it', would be our advice.

Basically, don't do what most people tell you to do. Ordinarily I'd go with estabilished scientific opinion. But Sheryl van Nunen is a doctor of immunology, Andrew Ratchford isn't just some guy off the street and Jonica Newby may be a TV presenter but she is also a doctor and veterinarian.

Will removing a tick by pulling with tweezers increase the risk of allergic reaction, Lyme disease, Mammalian Meat Allergy and irritation?

  • @sumelic Thanks for your concern. Unfortunately I found out about freezing them after I had removed them with tweezers. I got to them in around 24 hours, but it left an itchy red lump for a month or more. Which is unfortunate since the video says "...to my surprise the itch went away completely in an hour. This new method really works." >:(
    – Coomie
    Jul 25, 2016 at 7:06
  • 5
    A long-lasting red lump sounds a bit like one of the symptoms of Lyme disease, the "erythema migrans" rash. I would recommend getting that checked out by a doctor if you can. If the doctor determines that you are at risk of having Lyme disease, they will be able to treat it.
    – paradisi
    Jul 25, 2016 at 7:12
  • @sumelic actually doctors are surprisingly inept with Lyme. In my own limited set of friends, three people have had Lyme which went un-or-mis diagnosed for very long periods of time despite many trips to the doctor, and several tests specifically for Lyme (each). Two had serious long term consequences. One ended up in the hospital on IV antibiotics. Moral: You must be your own advocate. Don't assume that "doctor always knows best". Jul 25, 2016 at 18:16
  • Hats off to anyone who can squeeze a tick with tweezers. It's hard enough to do with pliers. I highly doubt any human can actually squeeze then with tweezers.
    – user6591
    Jul 25, 2016 at 22:52
  • 1
    The important point about using tweezers is that you should grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and not squeeze the body. This is illustrated on the Center for Disease Control web site.
    – Simon B
    Jul 27, 2016 at 21:43


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