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reviewed 3/27/2018

How to remove a tick

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—as this infographic illustrates.

Remove a tick in 4 easy steps

There are over 80 different types of ticks in the U.S. But there's 1 simple tool to remove a tick from your skin. Grab a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, and follow these steps:

  1. Grasp the tick right next to your skin—as close to its mouth as you can get.
  2. Pull the tick straight out with a slow, steady motion. Don't twist or crush it.
  3. Save the tick in a jar for identification in case of infection.
  4. Use soap and water to clean your skin and hands.

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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