Although it can be alarming to see a tick embedded in your or a family member’s skin and you may want to rip it out, DON’T. Also, DON’T try to burn it off, try to freeze it off by applying ice, or use some kind of liquid such as alcohol to kill it.
You want to get the tick’s mouth out of your body, as if it stays in it might increase your chance of exposure to the Borrelia bacterium.
Remove the tick without squeezing its body which could “inject” bacteria from the tick’s belly into you.
Save the tick (don’t throw it away, flush it down the toilet, or store it in alcohol or other liquid). You can have it tested for the presence of Lyme and other pathogens.
HOW TO REMOVE A TICK
Use tweezers or a tick removal device to grasp the head of the tick where it has attached to your body.
Pull it out GENTLY.
If you don’t have any tweezers or other similar tools, you can go to your local doctor’s office or emergency room. Sometimes ticks are very tiny or deeply embedded – you may need help to get them out.
However you remove it, SAVE THE TICK.
Put it in a plastic ziplock bag. Write the date on the bag, and any information about where the tick may have come from, (did you travel recently?), where it bit you, and any symptoms you notice around the bite location. You can have ticks tested whether they are dead or alive. You may keep the tick in the freezer until you are ready to have it tested.
Wash your hands and the area of the bite with soap and water.
Watch the bite area to see if you develop a red rash.
A rash is one sign of Lyme infection. Many people do not develop a rash – so if you do not have a rash, you may still have Lyme. Watch for fatigue, headache, muscle and joint aches, or these other symptoms of Lyme.
We recommend that you contact your doctor immediately, to let him or her know that you have been bitten. If your doctor is not receptive to your concerns about Lyme disease, seek the help of a Lyme literate physician.