Let's face it: finding a tick on yourself, your child, or your pet is like finding out your ex is at the same party -- unexpected, stressful, and totally unwelcome. But don't panic! Knowing how to remove a tick safely is something every Michigan resident should be familiar with, and why improper technique increases the risk of being infected by a tick-borne illness.

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Since these little bloodsuckers carry a slew of diseases and like to bury their heads into their victims, you want to do this the right way. Reacting impulsively could result in infected blood entering your body or part of the tick's mouth breaking off inside you.

Michigan Outdoors: Step-by-Step Guide to Removing a Tick

Michigan Outdoors: How To Safely Remove a Tick

Here's your step-by-step guide to removing those nasty Michigan ticks with help from PestGnome.

  1. Grip the Tick: Using sanitized fine-tipped tweezers, grab the tick AS CLOSE TO THE SKINS SURFACE AS POSSIBLE. Avoid grabbing its engorged belly, which could squeeze infected tick juice into its victim.
  2. Pull Upward: Steadily and with even pressure, pull the tick straight out. Don't twist or jerk. This is important, as twisting can leave the tick's mouth parts embedded under the skin, and no one wants that.
  3. Leave Some Behind?: If some of the mouth parts stay behind, don't go digging for them. Your body has a way of expelling the foreign bits, and those parts will eventually pop out as your skin heals.
  4. Clean the Wound: Once the tick is out, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  5. Save the Tick for Testing: If you want to know if the tick was infected, save it in a zipped plastic bag with a moist cotton ball and hand it over to your local health department for testing.
  6. OR Dispose of the Tick: Drown that sucker in alcohol, tape it up like a tiny mummy, or flush it. Don't crush it with your fingers unless you want tick guts on your hands.

When to Call a Doctor if Bitten by a Tick in Michigan

Michigan Outdoors: How To Safely Remove a Tick

You may want to see your doctor ASAP if you develop a rash, fever, headache, joint pain, or flu-like symptoms after a tick bite. Mention the tick bite and where you might have picked up the little hitchhiker.

Related: HUH? Michigan Farm Worker Gets BIRD Flu - From a COW?

Ticks are part of enjoying the outdoors in Michigan; if you're heading to an area known for ticks, wear long socks and pants while applying plenty of DEET-fortified bug spray.

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