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Remove a tick in 4 easy steps
There are more than 90 different types of ticks in the U.S. Ticks can carry disease, so it's a good idea to avoid them entirely. But if one bites you, make sure you remove it correctly.
To remove a tick, grab a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, and follow these four steps.
Grasp the tick right next to your skin—as close to its mouth as you can get.
Pull the tick straight out with a slow, steady motion. Don't twist or crush it.
Save the tick in a jar for identification in case of infection.
Use soap and water to clean your hands and the skin around the bite.
DON'T USE THESE!
These tools aren't effective for removing a tick:
- Petroleum jelly.
- Nail polish.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF:
- Part of the tick's head or mouth remains embedded in your skin.
- You notice any signs of infection, such as:
- A rash.
- Fever, headache or other flu-like symptoms.
- Joint pain or redness.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Preventing Tick Bites." https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Tick Removal." https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Ticks." https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html.
- MedlinePlus. "Tick Removal." https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007211.htm.
- Purdue University. "Ticks." https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publichealth/insects/tick.html.