What is the best way to remove a tick?

When you find a tick attached to your skin, there's no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively. Firmly grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water. If you are concerned about a tick bite, contact your health care provider. He or she will help you determine the best steps to take after being bitten.

If redness or swelling develops within a few hours after the tick bite, but goes away within a day or 2, it is likely an allergic reaction to the tick and not a rash. Check the site of the bite for a rash and keep close watch on your health for 30 days after the bite. See a doctor if you develop:

  • A fever
  • A rash
  • Flu-like symptoms

Once you have removed the tick from yourself or a family member, you can throw the tick away in your normal garbage. Sometimes it may be helpful to keep the tick so it can be identified by your doctor or another health professional should you develop any symptoms. If you choose to do this, place the tick in a small jar or sealed plastic bag with rubbing alcohol, which will both kill and preserve it. Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible-not waiting for it to detach.

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?