Q. My brother-in-law sent me an email about how to remove ticks. It was attributed to a school nurse who suggested applying a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball and covering the tick with the cotton ball for 20 seconds. Presumably when you remove the cotton ball the tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball.
Is this really a good way to remove ticks? We are having a bumper crop this year.
A. According to Snopes.com, this email has been circulating on the Internet for more than two years. It sounds credible, but it is not true. Putting liquid soap, petroleum jelly, Vicks VapoRub, fingernail polish or any other goo on a tick will not make it let go faster. Aggravating a tick might cause it to regurgitate saliva into the bite, increasing the risk of infection.
The CDC recommends grasping the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Use a gentle steady motion to pull the tick straight away from the skin.
Prompt removal reduces the risk of infection. Symptoms such as rash, fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches could signal either Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Both require prompt medical attention.