Tick Bite Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Dany Paul Baby, MD on April 22, 2022

1. Remove Tick

If the tick is attached to the person's skin, remove it immediately:

  • Wearing gloves, grasp the tick with clean tweezers as close to the skin as possible to remove the head and mouthparts. If some mouthparts remain, do not try to remove them, as your body will expel them naturally.
  • Pull the tick straight out gently and steadily. Do not twist.
  • Do not try to remove tick with a hot match or petroleum jelly. This could cause the tick to regurgitate infected fluids into the wound.
  • Save the tick in a container of alcohol to show the doctor.

2. Cleanse and Protect the Area

  • Wash hands and clean the bite area with warm water and gentle soap.
  • Apply alcohol to the bite wound to prevent infection.

3. See a Health Care Provider

See a health care provider immediately if the tick has burrowed into skin or if the head, mouthparts, or other tick remains cannot be removed.

Otherwise, see a health care provider if:

  • You think it might be a deer tick, which is especially prevalent in the Northeast U.S. Your doctor may prescribe a single dose of an antibiotic to help prevent Lyme disease.
  • You develop flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and muscle aches, or a rash within one month after the bite. Take the tick to the health care provider's office or the hospital if possible.
  • The bite area develops a lesion within 30 days. A sign of Lyme disease infection is a "bullseye" rash in which the center becomes clearer as the redness moves outward in a circular pattern.
  • There are signs of infection such as redness, warmth, or inflammation.

4. Follow Up

  • The health care provider may prescribe antibiotics if the person has symptoms of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or another tick-borne disease.

Show Sources


Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: “Tick Bites."

KidsHealth: "Tick Removal, A Step-by-Step Guide" and "Tick Bites."

CDC: "Lyme Disease Symptoms;" "Lyme Disease: Treatment and Prognosis;" and "Tick Removal."

Wormser, G. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2006.

FamilyDoctor: "Lyme Disease."


Ticks Information from eMedicineHealth.

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