Most tick bites are harmless and don't need medical treatment. But some ticks (like the deer tick, wood tick, and others) can carry harmful germs that 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.
How Do I Remove a Tick?
It's important to remove a tick as soon as possible. Follow these steps:
Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to the skin.
Pull firmly and steadily until the tick lets go of the skin. Do not twist the tick or rock it from side to side. Parts of the tick might stay in the skin, but eventually will come out on their own.
Wash your hands and the site of the bite with soap and water.
Swab the bite site with alcohol.
Note: 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 make it burrow deeper and release more saliva (which makes it more likely to pass a disease).
What Are the Signs of Tick-Related Diseases?
Watch out for:
a red bump ringed by an expanding red rash, which looks like a bull's-eye (Lyme disease)
red dots on the ankles and wrists (Rocky Mountain spotted fever)