The go-to method for removing a tick is to use pointy tweezers to pull it out as close to the skin as possible. But using sharp tweezers can be scary for kids (or for parents trying to use them on squirmy kids). Here’s an alternate method that may work.

You’ll need a hollow pen or mechanical pencil and about 3 feet of strong, but thin, string. Place both ends of the string through the small opening of the pen and pull it most of the way through, leaving a loop. Place the loop around the tick at the spot where it is latched onto the skin. Gently pull the loop until it’s tight. Hold the pen and loop tight, pull straight back to remove the tick.

It’s important that the loop is not just around the tick’s body and that you don’t twist when pulling. Either of these could lead to the tick’s body being pulled off leaving the mouth attached to the skin. If that happens, you’ll be back to the tweezers again.

There are hundreds of species of ticks, but only a few transmit disease to humans. Lyme disease, for example, is an illness spread by the bite of an infected deer tick. If left untreated, it can produce symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and joint pain (which can be confused with having the flu). Your chances of getting Lyme disease are reduced if the tick is removed within 24 hours.

If Lyme disease is suspected, or if you can’t remove the tick, make sure to visit an emergency room for treatment.

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