You notice a little itchy spot on your leg, look down and—oh no!—you see a tick attached to you. What do you do? Well, you grab your tick kit of course! A tick kit contains all the tools you need to properly and safely remove a tick, document the bite, and treat the bite site. It’s like a first aid kit, but specifically for tick bites.
Why do you need a special kit just for tick bites? Well, tickborne illnesses are on the rise across the globe, and while bite prevention is the best line of defense, once a tick has embedded itself into you, proper removal, treatment, and documentation (and possibly testing) is important to keeping you and your family healthy.
You shouldn’t freak out when you find a tick, but it is better to get it off as soon as possible, and the last thing you want to be doing is running around the house trying to find the tools you need. A tick kit keeps it all in one spot. We keep ours on a shelf in our guest bathroom. Easy to grab, easy to use.
So let’s dig into how to make one. Here’s everything I keep in my tick kit. Yours might vary, but this is a good starting point.
- Something to write with—I save every tick that bites us on labeled Post-It notes in the freezer. This isn’t some weird quirk, this is so I can later send the tick off for testing if any strange symptoms start to show up. More about tick testing coming soon.
- Pad of Post-It notes—For sticking the tick to.
- Big bandages.
- Tick key or other tick removal device—I really like the Tick Key. It’s affordable, easy-to-use, and works VERY well.
- Set of tweezers—Some ticks can’t be gotten at with the Tick Key (it struggles in hair), so a good set of tweezers is necessary. They have specific tick removal tweezers out there, but I haven’t found them any better than my regular ole CoverGirl pink tweezers.
- Magnifying glass—Is it a tick or is a freckle/scab/piece of dirt? It’s a daily question in my house. Ticks can be TINY and a small magnifying glass can really help out sometimes.
- Headlamp—Ticks are small and my eyes are starting to go, kids, so I’m all about getting as much light as possible while doing tick removal. This lights the area while keeping my hands free. I also use this headlamp for tick checks every night.
- Bentonite clay or a drawing salve—this is optional, but it does help to relieve itchiness, and some herbalists believe that a big glob of bentonite clay on the bite site can help draw out any pathogens a tick left behind. It definitely doesn’t hurt! If you prefer, you can make my Antimicrobial Black Drawing Salve, which has similar drawing properties to bentonite clay.
- Andrographis tincture—Andrographis is an herbal immune-booster and antibiotic, but you can also use a pharmaceutical antibiotic ointment like Neosporin, if you prefer. I always cover a tick bite site in andrographis. My Antimicrobial Black Drawing Salve recipe has the andrographis built right in, so two birds, one stone.
- A roll of scotch tape—To adhere the tick to the sticky note.
- Zipper pouch to keep it all in—Cricut decoration optional.
Some things that other people put in their tick kits: tick identification cards, the contact info for their health care professionals/nurse line phone numbers, and tick testing information.
I believe a tick kit is a must for any household in an area where ticks are prevalent, and considering ticks are found in all 50 states, I’d say it’s a must for every household! It’s also a great idea to keep a tick kit in your car and one in your backpack if you do a lot of hiking or camping.