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If you or a loved one is bitten, remove the tick promptly. Here’s how:

  • Grasp the tick’s mouthparts against the skin, using pointed tweezers.
  • Be patient; the long mouthpart is covered with barbs, so removing it can be difficult and time consuming.
  • Pull steadily until you can ease the tick out of the skin.
  • DO NOT pull back sharply; this may tear the mouthparts from the body of the tick and leave them embedded in the skin. If this happens, don’t panic! Embedded mouthparts do not transmit Lyme disease.
  • DO NOT squeeze or crush the body of the tick; this may force infected body fluids from the tick into the skin.
  • DO NOT apply substances such as petroleum jelly, nail polish, or a lighted match to the tick while it is attached. They may agitate the tick and force more infected fluid into the skin.
  • Once you have removed the tick, wash the wound site and your hands with soap and water.
  • Observe the bite site over the next two weeks for any signs of an expanding red rash.
  • Tick attachment time is important; removing ticks within 36 hours of attachment reduces the risk of infection.

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