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.