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Ask Buck

Help! I have 9 tick bites.

What's the best way to remove a tick, and should I see a doctor?

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Question:

Last weekend I was bitten by nine ticks (five deer ticks and four wood ticks) in a single outing. When bitten, what’s the safest way to remove them, what are the chances I’ll contract a disease, and should I see a doctor right away (I have an appointment next week)?

Submitted by – Mike, Franklin Park, New Jersey

Answer:

The Centers for Disease Control recommends only one way to remove an embedded tick: With pointy tweezers, take gentle hold of the tick at your skin line, keeping the tweezers perpendicular to the longer axis of the tick’s body (so you don’t turn the tick into a syringe), and pulling slowly and straight out with no jerking or twisting. It’s not a bad idea to save the tick in a sealable container. If you get sick, the doc can check the tick for germs. There are currently eight—some say nine—tickborne diseases considered indigenous to the US. All of them make you sick, some with rashes and often with flu-like symptoms. Any illness that develops within days to weeks after removing an embedded tick should be assessed by a physician. —Buck