• Tick Bites

    Ticks attach themselves to any warm-blooded animal with which they come into direct contact, including people. When ticks attach themselves to the skin, they can spread pathogens from their mouths into the person’s body. These pathogens can cause serious illnesses, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

    To lower the risk for tick-borne illnesses, always check for ticks immediately after outdoor activities. Most experts believe that the longer the tick stays attached to the skin, the greater the chances are of infection, so it is a good practice to check for ticks at least once daily after having been outdoors. Promptly remove any ticks that you find before they become swollen with blood.

    Emergency Steps


    Check the scene safety, form an initial impression, obtain consent and put on PPE, as appropriate.


    Check for signs and symptoms.

    • Tick attached to skin, possibly swollen with blood
    • Surrounding area reddened
    • Bull’s-eye rash*

    *Note: Signs and symptoms with a * require immediate emergency medical treatment.


    Call 9-1-1 and get equipment if the person requires immediate emergency medical treatment.


    Give Care.

    General Care: Tick Removal

    1. Grasp the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible.
      1. Use fine-tipped, pointed tweezers with smooth inside surface.
    2. Pull upward slowly and steadily without twisting until the tick’s hold is released.
    3. Seal tick in container for a healthcare provider.
    4. Wash the area with soap and warm water.
    5. Apply a small amount of antibiotic wound ointment, cream or gel if no known allergies or sensitivities.
    6. Have the person see a healthcare provider if unable to remove the tick or if parts of the tick’s mouth are still embedded.
    7. Watch for changes in condition, including breathing and responsiveness, and give care as appropriate and trained.
    8. Monitor for several days for signs and symptoms of illness or infection from tick exposure.
      1. Common signs & symptoms include:
        1. Rashes/bullseye rash
        2. Fever
        3. Muscle & joint aches & pains
        4. Fatigue

    Tick Bite FAQs

    Can I remove a tick by burning it off with a match or smothering it with petroleum jelly or nail polish?

    These folk remedies are not the best way to go about removing a tick. They rely on the tick detaching itself, which could take hours. As long as the tick’s mouth parts are in contact with the skin, the tick is potentially transmitting disease. The goal is to remove the tick in one piece as quickly as possible. The best tool for doing this is a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a special tick removal tool, such as a tick key.

    What does a rash from a deer tick bite look like?

    The rash starts as a small red area at the site of the bite, but may appear a few days or a few weeks after. On fair skin, the center may be lighter in color and the outer edges red and raised (bull's-eye appearance).

    How do people get Lyme disease?

    People get Lyme disease from the bite of an infected deer tick.

    How big is a deer tick?

    It is about the size of a poppy seed or the head of a pin. A deer tick is much smaller than a dog tick.

    Where are ticks found?

    Ticks are found in wooded, brushy areas; in tall grass; and in leaf litter on the ground.

    How do I prevent tick bites?

    • Limit amount of exposed skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Tuck shirt into pants and pant legs into socks or boots.
    • Wear light-colored clothing.
    • Stay in the middle of trails.
    • Conduct a full-body check for ticks after being outdoors.
    • Check scalp, under arms, in and around ears, inside navel, around waist, behind knees and between legs. If outdoors for an extended time, check several times during the day.
    • Consider using an insect repellent if you will be in a high risk area for a long time.
    • Use repellents sparingly, once every 4 to 8 hours. Heavier or more frequent applications do not increase effectiveness.
    • Apply products containing DEET only once daily or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Do not use a product that combines DEET with sunscreen. Do not use DEET on infants younger than 2 months.

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