Here’s a major PSA for all the outdoorsy folks: we found a keychain that allows you to effortlessly remove ticks.
Dubbed the “Tick Key,” this tiny keychain could be a literal lifesaver.
How it works
The Tick Key resembles a guitar pick with a teardrop-shaped hole in the middle. To remove a tick, press the Tick Key into your skin so that the tick is fully exposed by the hole in the keychain. Then push down and slide the keychain across your skin to press the tick into the narrowest part of the hole.
The point of the teardrop-shaped hole is to catch the tick in the pointed part of the hole so that it can’t escape. This makes it much easier to dispose of the tick without fear of it jumping to a new victim.
To see a tick removal in action, here’s a video by @mayakindamischief on TikTok.
Why it’s important to check for ticks
In 2019 alone, over 50,000 tick-borne diseases were reported in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Ticks are a danger to humans because they carry germs that can cause Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
The CDC states that ticks typically need to be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. This means that the sooner you remove the tick, the better your odds are.
The most common tick infections come from nymphs — immature ticks less than 2mm long. Because these ticks are so small, it’s important to have a partner check you thoroughly after you’ve been outdoors.
Removing ticks is tricky
You might be wondering why on earth you would need a special tool to remove a tick when you could just click it off your arm.
Well, there’s an art to removing ticks correctly. In fact, the process of removing a tick is so important that the CDC has detailed instructions for how to do this posted on their website.
The common advice is to grab the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible using tweezers. You should pull the tick up with a slow, steady movement to avoid ripping off pieces of the mouth and head. If you do leave pieces of the mouth and head behind, this can lead to an infection.
The Tick Key simplifies this whole process and minimizes the potential for human error.
How to dispose of a tick
So you got the tick out. Now what? It’s super important that you clean the bite area and wash your hands after the tick removal. This can be done with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
As for the tick, extra care needs to be taken for its disposal as well as its removal. The CDC suggests putting it in alcohol, wrapping it tightly in tape, flushing it down the toilet, or putting it in a sealed bag.
The Tick Key makes for a much smoother disposal process, and with it you don’t have to touch the tick with your hands! Tick keys can be found at REI, Walmart, and Amazon, among other places.