How To Remove a Tick
Follow these steps to take a tick off your child's body.
Some ticks carry disease and transmit it through a bite. Prompt removal of the tick in the first 24 hours reduces the risk of disease. Here's how to do it:
- Gather a clean pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass.
- Using the tweezers, grasp the tick at a point close to its mouth and pull it out gently. Avoid squeezing the tick's belly, as this may push germ-carrying blood into your baby's body.
- If part of the tick remains in the skin, try to remove it as you would a splinter. Do not dig and cause discomfort.
- Place the tick in a sealed bag before discarding.
- Clean the bite area and apply a doctor-recommended topical first-aid ointment. Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Check it daily for signs of infection (redness, swelling, fever).
Always call the doctor if:
- You can't remove the tick.
- You are able to remove the tick, but the tick has already been on your child for more than 24 hours.
- Your child is having difficulty breathing or any type of severe reaction from the bite.
- You notice that your child's face or smile is lopsided/crooked
- A rash, a fever, or flulike symptoms develops in the two weeks after the bite. The symptoms may indicate a tick-borne disease and require antibiotics.
Although doctors stress that you don't need to get a tick analyzed, some parents feel better knowing whether or not it's a Lyme carrier. If you'd like to have it tested, save the tick in a dry glass vial or a zipper-top plastic bag, then check to see if your local health department has a tick-test policy, or try calling private labs in your area.