Most tick bites are painless and cause only minor signs and symptoms such as redness, swelling or skin pain. However, some ticks transmit bacteria causing disease, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Generally, most ticks need to be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit disease.
To treat a tick bite
- Remove the tick immediately and carefully. Use fine-tipped forceps or tweezers to grip the tick as close to your skin as possible. Gently pull the tick out with a slow and steady upward motion. Avoid twisting or squeezing the tick. Do not touch the tick with your bare hands. Experts advise against using Vaseline, nail polish or a hot match to remove a tick.
- If possible, seal the tick in a container. Place the container in a freezer. Your doctor may want to see the tick if you get new symptoms.
- Wash your hands and the bite site. Use warm water and soap, alcohol or an iodine scrub.
If you need emergency care
Call 911 or your local emergency number if you notice the following:
- Severe headache
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
When can You contact your doctor?
- You are unable to completely remove the tick. The longer the tick sticks to your skin, the greater the risk of getting it.
- The rash gets bigger. A small red bump may occur at the site of the tick bite. That is normal. But if it develops into a larger rash, possibly with a porthole pattern, it may indicate Lyme disease. The rash usually occurs within three to 14 days.
Also, consult your doctor if signs and symptoms disappear as you may still be at risk for illness. Your risk of getting sick from a tick bite depends on where you live or where you are going, how much time you spend outdoors in wooded and grassy areas, and how well you protect yourself.
- They develop flu-like signs and symptoms. Fever, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint pains and headaches may accompany the rash.
- They think the bite site is infected. Signs and symptoms include redness or oozing.
- They think they were bitten by a deer tick You may need antibiotics.
Bring the tick to the doctor's office if possible. Updated: 23.08.2017
Release date: 2017-08- 23