Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Clinical Review

Tick bite prevention and tick removal

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 09 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7123

Rapid Response:

Re: Tick bite prevention and tick removal

An n=13 retrospective study over 25yrs.

I know my experience hardly counts as a trial but living in a tick area (Snelsmore Common) and "owning" 7 dogs and 4 children we have had to deal with many tick bites over the last 25yrs (probably 50 or so). Without doubt in my experience the simplest way to remove ticks safely and without ever having any complications, both from pets and humans is to use plastic tick remover you can get from a vet or pet shop. They come in two sizes with the smaller one only needing to be used on nymphs. The device is slipped over the tick and with a twist between thumb and finger comes away, never leaving anything behind.

I should add, however, that this method of removal does not harm the tick which will therefore wander off unless squished. Failure to do this can lead to considerable consternation if carried out in the living room and on at least two occasions the tick has re-attached itself later.

Competing interests: I have no competing interests and no financial interests in this device. I would however like to thank Toby, Pluto, Mungo, Archie, Digby, Biggles and Lollipop in addition to my children for their involvement in this cohort study

10 December 2013
James Alan Cave
Downland Practice
Chieveley RG208UY