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Here’s How to Tell If a Tick Head Is Still in Your Skin, According to Doctors

Here’s How to Tell If a Tick Head Is Still in Your Skin, According to Doctors

However, if the tick has been attached to the host for several hours or if you’re unsure of the timeframe, you should save the tick in case you need to have it tested, should you notice unusual symptoms following the bite, Rina Allawh, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, tells SELF. To save a tick, simply put it in a plastic container or bag, label it with the date, and, if you really want to make sure it is dead, shove it in your freezer.

To remove a tick from your dog or any other warm-blooded pet, use the same strategies as you do on human skin. You might need to get someone else to help you pull apart your pet’s fur and help hold your pet still as you use a tweezer to remove the tick. If you live in an area with a lot of ticks, you might want to invest in a tick removal tool from a pet store, per the American Kennel Club.

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How to tell if a tick head is still in your skin

Okay, so you might have freaked out a bit and yanked the tick out as quickly as possible. Now you can’t tell if you got all of it…and it looks like the head might still even be attached to your skin. What should you do next?

If all that’s left is the head, you can usually see it on top of your skin. “In the process of removing a tick from your skin, you may have inadvertently decapitated the tick,” Jeffrey Hsu, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in the greater Chicago area, tells SELF. If so, Dr. Hsu says, the head of the tick will still be visible (just likely very, very small) and firmly attached to the outside of the skin.

Getting rid of the head is similar to the process of removing the tick, says Dr. Hsu. He recommends cleaning the area with rubbing alcohol before you give it another go with the tweezers, firmly grasping the head and plucking it off the skin with a straight, upward movement. If you aren’t able to get the tick’s head out, you may need to contact a doctor or dermatologist, as leaving a tick’s head or mouthparts in your skin can potentially lead to a skin infection.1

Even if it looks like the tick is completely gone, you should still inspect the area as close as you can—grab a magnifying glass if you’ve got one available. A small, dark, black dot on your skin might indicate some tick parts are left lurking. If some time has passed since the initial bite and you still have parts of the tick in your skin, the area might have become irritated, causing tick parts to take on a red-black hue. 

“If the skin is firm, red, irritated, and if you feel a small lump within the skin, the tick may be lodged into the skin a little deeper,” says Dr. Allawh. If this happens, she says, you may need to see your dermatologist to surgically remove the tick. This is a simple, outpatient procedure performed with a punch biopsy tool.

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Teyana Taylor –

Teyana Taylor –

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