Tick Bites - Home Treatment
Most ticks don't carry diseases, and most tick bites don't cause
serious health problems. The sooner
ticks are removed, the less likely they are to spread
Some ticks are so small that it is hard to see them. This makes it hard to
tell whether you have removed the tick's head. If you do not see any obvious
parts of the tick's head in the bite site, assume you have removed the entire
tick, but watch for
signs of a skin infection.
fine-tipped tweezers to remove a tick. If you don't
have tweezers, put on gloves or cover your hands with tissue paper, then use
your fingers. Do not handle the tick with bare hands.
- Grab the tick as close to its mouth (the part that is stuck in your skin) as you can.
- The body of the tick will be above your skin.
Do not grab the tick around its swollen belly. You might push infected fluid from the tick into your body if you squeeze it.
- Pull the tick straight out until its mouth lets go of your skin. Do not twist the tick. This may break off the tick's body and leave the head in your skin.
- Do not try to smother a tick that is attached to
your skin with petroleum jelly, nail polish, gasoline, or rubbing alcohol. This
may increase your risk of infection.
- Do not try to burn the tick
while it is attached to your skin.
- Put the tick in a dry jar or
ziplock bag and save it in the freezer for later identification if
- Wash the area of the tick bite with a lot of warm water
and soap. A mild dishwashing soap, such as Ivory, works well.
- If a
bite becomes irritated, apply an antibiotic ointment, such as bacitracin or
polymyxin B sulfate, and cover it with an adhesive bandage. The ointment will
keep the bite from sticking to the bandage. Note: Stop
using the ointment if the skin under the bandage begins to itch or a rash
develops. The ointment may be causing a skin reaction.
- After you
remove the tick,
wash your hands really well with soap and water.
When you return home from areas where ticks might live,
carefully examine your skin and scalp for ticks. Check your pets, too.