Follow these steps to take a tick off your child's body.

By Alice Lesch Kelly

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:

  1. Gather a clean pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass.
  2. 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.
  3. If part of the tick remains in the skin, try to remove it as you would a splinter. Do not dig and cause discomfort.
  4. Place the tick in a sealed bag before discarding.
  5. Clean the bite area and apply a doctor-recommended topical first-aid ointment. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  6. 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.

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