Removing a Tick
Even if you are bitten by an infected tick, removing it promptly can reduce your chances of becoming infected with a tick-borne disease. Always check yourself for ticks after outdoor activity, and if you find one remove it right away. In most cases, a tick removed within 48 hours of attachment will not transmit disease.
- Use tweezers or tissue (not bare hands) to grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible. If ticks are crushed with bare fingertips, exposure to the tick body fluids may lead to transmission of the disease organisms.
- Pull away from the skin using steady, even pressure. Don’t jerk or twist the tick. Never try to burn or smother a tick.
- After removal, wash the bite area and your hands with soap and water, or use a disinfectant solution.
- Save the tick for identification and testing. Place the tick in a plastic bag containing a wet paper towel. Ticks can be brought to the District office for identification only or submitted to the San Mateo County Public Health Laboratory for testing.
- Consult a health professional if you are unable to completely remove a tick, or if you develop a rash or fever after being bitten by a tick.