Last week Wendy forwarded instructions for "easy tick removal" to me. It was one of those e-mail forwards urging you to continue the chain of forwards, which I complied with by sending along to Jermaine. After all, we live in Maine and have deer in our backyard – the fear of Lyme Disease is real for us. “Tick checks” occur daily at our house during the summer months.
On Sunday, while sitting in church, I looked over at Amelle and brushed her long thick hair over to one side of her neck. I then noticed a small brown dot on her freshly exposed neck; it looked like a slightly raised freckle. I was suspicious, so I quietly pointed it out to Jermaine and communicated via facial expression that I wanted his opinion. He took an initial look, then went back for a second look, “it’s a tick” he whispered, which confirmed my fear. “What do I do” I asked frantically. I knew it was a deer tick – the kind that carries Lyme disease.
“Take her to the ladies room and do the thing with the hand-soap that was in that e-mail you sent me” he calmly whispered. By this time Amelle was in full panic mode – she knew there was a tick on her and she had just seen us pull a wood tick off of Mina’s neck with tweezers two weeks prior – she wanted nothing to do with any of that. Her eyes were big and ready for some crying, but she stayed strong as I walked her quickly down the isle and into the ladies room. ...I was still awe-struck that Jermaine had actually read one of my e-mails (a “forward” no less!).
We went to the ladies room and I applied a glob of hand-soap to a paper towel and onto Amelle’s neck. After a few seconds, I removed it and noticed that the tick seemed to be further out (I could now clearly see it’s little legs). I brushed it off onto the paper towel with my fingernail. It was quick and painless. I called the pediatrician and asked if I should give Amelle any preventative antibiotics, but she said it wasn’t necessary, just to watch for a rash and flu-like symptoms. I’m happy to report that there haven’t been either.
After reviewing the instructions in the e-mail message, it looks like I probably should’ve left the soap on longer than I did, but it worked pretty well anyway. I wanted to share this information with you because it was really helpful for me.
Easy Tick Removal:
Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20), the tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away. This technique has worked every time I've used it (and that is frequently), and it's much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me. This should work on animals, also.
-Written by “a school nurse”. (too bad she didn’t get the credit she deserves for this one! I think she should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize).