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It only takes 4 steps to remove a tick correctly. Show me how.

reviewed  1/13/2020

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.

STEP 1

Grasp the tick right next to your skin—as close to its mouth as you can get.

STEP 2

Pull the tick straight out with a slow, steady motion. Don't twist or crush it.

STEP 3

Save the tick in a jar for identification in case of infection.

STEP 4

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:

  • Alcohol.
  • Petroleum jelly.
  • Heat.
  • Fingers.
  • 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

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