WHAT NOT TO DO:
DON’T cover the tick in anything. Vaseline, nailpolish, whatever. Doesn’t matter. It’ll all suffocate the tick, making it panic vomit germs into your blood stream. That’s the opposite of what you want.
DON’T burn the tick. Same problem, plus the additional option of giving yourself a burn wound in the process.
DON’T squeeze the body of the tick when you try to remove it. Again this empties the tick’s digestive system into your body. Bad.
DON’T wait for the tick to detach itself. The longer it stays on you, the higher the chances it’ll transmit anything to you. Plus when ti detaches it may again vomit germs into you.
WHAT TO ACTUALLY DO
STAY CALM. A tick hanging on you is not a reason to panick. You’re not going to keel over just like that, and if you’re unsure what to do, there are many resources on the internet on how to safely remove a tick, like this one from the CDC (aka the professionals)
USE APPROPRIATE TOOLS. These can be suitable tweezers (the pointy kind, not blunt tipped ones), tick removers (there are cheap ones out there, those you can buy at the vets are totally fine for use on humans, too!). Ideally you can remove the entire tick in one go, however if that doesn’t work and the mouth part breaks off in your skin, that’s not a terribly big deal and you can totally remove it separately after you got the body remove. Again, don’t panic.
KILL THE REMOVED TICK. But not by squeezing it. Flush it down the toilet, submerse it in alcohol in a container etc. Ideally if the tick has bitten you and not your dog, keep the tick around in a sealed container in case you start having symptoms and someone needs to identify the tick species. Also IF you start getting symptoms like the tell tale Lyme disease rash, HIT A DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY AND TELL THEM ABOUT YOUR TICK BITE. Do not wait this out, ticks can transmit a whole host of diseases beside Lyme, so be mindful of that, too!
Some of those diseases you can actually get vaccinated again, such as tick born encephalitis. Check with the local authorities if you live in a risk area, and if so, get the shots to protect yourself.
Excellent post! I would like to add that ticks hide in tall grass and bushes mostly. They do not drop down from trees or jump to other people’s heads etc. Ticks aren’t designed to jump, they latch on somewhere on your leg and then crawl upwards in most cases.
So be careful with bare legs and tall grass!