While most tick bites are harmless and don't require medical treatment, some ticks (like the deer tick, wood tick, and others) can carry harmful germs and cause diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. The deer tick is tiny, no larger than a pencil point. Other ticks are larger and easier to find on the skin.
If the tick is still attached to the skin, follow these steps:
Never use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove a tick. These methods don't get the tick off the skin, and can cause the insect to burrow deeper and release more saliva (which increases the chances of disease transmission).
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014
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