I found a tick on me, now what do I do?

The first thing to remember is don’t panic. If you’ve been doing tick checks every day you have a good idea how long the tick has been attached. The tick needs to be removed. Prompt and proper removal will help reduce the risk of infection.

  • After removal wash your hands and apply antiseptic to the site.
  • The area around the bite site may become immediately red. This is not the bull’s eye rash, this is an allergic reaction to the bite, which is normal, and should go away in a couple of days.
  • Do not apply substances such as Vaseline, nail polish remover, repellents, soaps or heat to the tick while it is still attached. These materials might agitate the tick and cause it to regurgitate infective fluid into the site.
  • Do not panic if the mouth-part breaks off. The mouth-parts alone cannot transmit Lyme disease because the infective body of the tick is no longer attached. However, to prevent secondary infection, remove the mouth-parts as you would a splinter. Do not squeeze the body of the tick. This may force infection into the site.
  • Grasp the tick’s mouth-parts close to the skin and steadily pull upward and outward.
  • Use fine pointed tweezers or forceps to be removed.

If you’re not sure what kind of tick you have, the Orange County Department of Health has a free tick identification service available. Also, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Health, ticks brought to the Orange County Health Department will be sent out for identification, which takes a few days. Information in writing, as to what kind of tick it is, approximately how long the tick was attached and if any parts of the tick are missing, will be included in the information sent directly to your home. Neither the Orange County Department of Health nor the New York State Department of Health test ticks for the disease.

After you have all this information, you and your provider determine what action, if any, is needed.

Show All Answers

1. What is Lyme disease?
2. What is the best way to remove a tick?
3. I just pulled a tick off of myself, what do I do?
4. How do people get Lyme disease?
5. What are the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease?
6. How is Lyme disease diagnosed?
7. How good is testing for Lyme disease?
8. How is Lyme disease treated?
9. When will a Lyme disease vaccine become available?
10. How is Lyme disease transmitted?
11. When do most people get Lyme disease?
12. Where will I find ticks?
13. What can I do to protect myself from getting Lyme disease?
14. I found a tick on me, now what do I do?
15. When do symptoms appear?