Promptly removing a tick can reduce your chances of becoming infected with a tick-borne disease. Always check yourself for ticks after outdoor activity. If you find a tick on you, 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. Do not burn, smother, cut, coat with nail polish, or twist the tick off. Ticks are not able to remove themselves once fully inserted and need to be removed with tweezers.
- Pull away from the skin using steady, even pressure. Don’t jerk or twist the tick.
- After removal, wash the bite area and your hands with soap and water, or use a disinfectant solution.
- Consult a health professional if you are unable to completely remove a tick, or if you develop a rash or fever 3-30 days after being bitten by a tick.
Tick identification and testing options
Ticks can be brought to the District office for identification only, or submitted to the San Mateo County Public Health Laboratory for identification and disease testing. Place the tick in a plastic bag containing a wet paper towel.
Page last reviewed: December 14, 2022