How to remove a tick
If you spot a tick on your skin, remove it as soon as possible.
- Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Do not use your fingers.
- If using tweezers: In a slow, gentle, yet firm motion, pull out without twisting, until the tick’s mouth lets go. Don’t squeeze it. Squeezing the tick can cause Lyme bacteria to be accidentally introduced into your body. If parts of the tick’s mouth break off and remain in your skin, remove them with the tweezers. If this is difficult to do, leave them alone and let the skin heal.
If using a tick removal card: Holding the tick card flat against the skin, slide the notch under the tick. Gently push the card forward and upward with steady pressure. Allow the tick to let go and be pulled out of the skin easily.
- After removing the tick, place it in a secure container such as a screw-top bottle. You may wish to take it to your health care provider. The EOHU no longer sends ticks removed from patients for testing. Tick testing was used to assist with the provincial surveillance program and decisions to diagnose or treat for Lyme disease should not be delayed by the wait for test results. Diagnosis should be based on clinical judgement.
- Wash your hands and thoroughly cleanse the bite site with rubbing alcohol and/or soap and water.
- If you believe the tick was attached for more than 24 hours, consult your health care provider or pharmacist.
- Watch for symptoms of Lyme disease, including flu-like symptoms and/or an expanding rash. If you have symptoms or just feel unwell in the weeks following a tick bite, seek medical attention and advise your health care provider that you have been bitten by a tick.