Why is it safe to twist with this tool?
Whatever the method of tick removal, the tick’s barbed mouth parts are so microscopic and delicate there is a chance they can break off (see image below). However, using a best-practice method will reduce this risk.
When using tweezers / forceps, the tick is grabbed close to the skin, gripping the tick at the base of its mouth parts. Twisting the tick then exerts pressure to its mouth parts, which can cause them to break off. You should NEVER twist with tweezers.
The O’Tom Tick Twister cradles the body of the tick and doesn’t exert pressure to either its mouth parts or its abdomen. It can therefore be safely twisted in one direction (either clockwise or counter-clockwise – the tick is not screw-threaded), which allows the barbs on the tick’s proboscis to be freed from the surrounding tissue. The twisting action also helps to crack the special saliva cement that most hard-tick species secrete to fix themselves in. Because the tool doesn’t cause any compression to the body of the tick, it minimises the risk of back-flow of the tick’s saliva and gut contents, and therefore helps to avoid disease transmission.
If you use this tool to lever (like a crow bar) the mouth parts are likely to break off. If you twist the tick one way and then the other, the mouth parts are likely to break off. Twist in one direction only.
The O’Tom Tick Twister ® is suitable for the removal of ticks from both humans and animals and can be disinfected with normal disinfectants or sterilised in an autoclave at 284°F (140°C), so is reusable. The product is made from recyclable plastic, which can also be incinerated without pollution (no chlorine fumes during combustion).