What to Do If a Tick Head Is Stuck in Your Skin

Close up of tick on skin

First, try not to panic. The head itself, after it’s been broken off, cannot transmit disease, and a broken-off tick can usually be removed easily.

Start by washing your hands and then cleaning the area around the tick bite with rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab.

After you’ve cleaned your skin, here’s how to remove a tick head:

  1. Grasp the tick head with sterile, fine-tipped tweezers.
  2. Firmly pull the tick head straight out, not at an angle.
  3. If you couldn’t remove it with tweezers, sterilize a needle with rubbing alcohol.
  4. Use the needle to gently widen the hole where the head is embedded.
  5. Use the tweezers again to pull the head out.

You don’t need to save the tick head for disease testing, as the body of the tick is all that’s necessary for a thorough test. However, if the tick’s body was attached to you for more than 24 hours, you should monitor for symptoms of Lyme disease for about a month.

So now you know how to get a tick head out, but what if you don’t notice that the head is there for a while?

What Happens If the Tick’s Head Stays in Your Skin?

If a tick head is stuck in human or animal skin for a prolonged period, the risk of tick-borne disease isn’t increased, but the risk of infection is. If you’re unable to remove the head yourself, ask your doctor to remove it for you as soon as possible.

Will a tick head eventually come out on its own? Usually, the answer is yes, but the body is unpredictable. Ultimately, you should never leave pieces of a tick on, or under, your skin.

Related Topic: What Percentage of Ticks Carry Lyme Disease?

How to Tell if a Tick Head Is Still in Your Skin

If a tick head is still in your skin, it should be visible to the naked eye. What does a tick head look like in the skin? It typically looks like a small, dark-colored fleck. It may look like a splinter if it’s just the tick’s mouthparts. For an additional sign of a tick head still being stuck, you may also inspect the tick’s body to see if it looks like pieces of the head broke off.

How Can You Prevent This From Happening Again?

Because ticks can carry numerous diseases, including Lyme, most people want to stay as far away from them as possible. But their populations are high, they’re resistant to cold, and they’re very good at finding a host.

What are the best ways to make sure that that host isn’t you or a loved one?

  • Wear protective clothing when you’re outside.
  • Check for ticks after being outdoors (especially when in high grass or wooded areas).
  • Keep landscaping well maintained (shrubs trimmed and grass mowed).

Mosquito Joe offers a range of tick exterminator services from proven barrier spray treatments to our natural formulas that can help minimize the risk of exposure to ticks around the perimeter of your home. To learn more about the variety of services we offer, give us a call at 1-855-275-2563 or request a quote today!