Tick Removal for Families

How do I remove a tick?

Most tick bites are painless, so it’s important to check for ticks daily and remove attached ticks as soon as possible. In most cases, blacklegged ticks need to attach to hosts for at least 24 hours before transmitting the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, so the earlier you find and remove ticks the better.

  1. Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure to remove the tick. Avoid twisting or jerking.
  3. Clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  4. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by:
    • Putting it in alcohol
    • Placing it in a sealed bag/container
    • Wrapping it tightly in tape, or
    • Flushing it down the toilet.

NOTE: Ticks should only be removed with tweezers. Do not use nail polish, petroleum jelly, or heat to try and detach ticks. Remember: the faster a tick is removed from you or your skin, the less time it has to infect you with Lyme-causing bacteria.

tick removal series

CDC Tick Bite Bot

Need help removing a tick or determining whether you need health care? The CDC Tick Bite Bot will ask you a series of questions to help you make the right choice!

Please click here if you are unable to access the Tick Bite Assessment.

More Questions?

Visit our FAQ to explore more questions health care providers are commonly asked.