Kids

How to Remove a Tick, Signs and Symptoms of a Tick Bite

Family of four hiking along trail

Avoid Heavily Wooded or Leafy Areas
When hiking or biking, avoid areas with high grass or a lot of leaf litter, and walk or bike in the center of trails.

Man applying bug spray to arm

Use Bug Repellent
Spray exposed skin with a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). This will offer several hours of protection.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend using products containing DEET on children less than two months old. They also recommend choosing a product with the lowest concentration effective for the amount of time spent outdoors, and only applying DEET once per day. In addition, do not use a product that combines DEET with sunscreen.

Remember to always follow the application instructions. Parents should apply bug repellents on children, making sure to avoid any contact with the eyes, mouth, or hands, and should only use products containing DEET when necessary.

Young boy buttoning shirt and getting dressed against white background

Pre-Treat Clothing and Shoes
Use products that contain permethrin on clothing, boots, and gear. Clothes will stay protected through several washings.

Clothing that has already been pre-treated is also available in many sporting goods stores, and can stay protected for up to 70 washings.

Wear long pants and socks with either sneakers or hiking boots, with your pants tucked into your socks, and a long-sleeved shirt tucked into your pants.

Wearing light-colored clothing also makes it easier to spot a tick crawling on you.

Young Child taking a bath and putting bath toy in mouth

Bathe or Shower After Being Outdoors
Try to shower or bathe within two hours of coming indoors. This will make it easier to spot any ticks that may be crawling on your body.

Mom checking young daughter for ticks

Do a Full Body Check
If you’ve been in a tick-infested area, do a full body check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body.

When examining your child, check under the arms, in and around the ears, in the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in his hair.

Golden Retriever laying in grass looking at camera

Examine Gear and Pets
Ticks can ride home on articles of clothing or pets and attach to a person later, so make sure to check all of your clothes and gear, including backpacks. Do a full check on your pet too, making sure to look in his ears and under his tail.

Hand holding tweezers against white background

How to Remove a Tick
Tick bites are generally painless, so you or your child may not know you’ve been bitten until the tick has become engorged. If you do find a tick that has attached to you, your child, or pet, the CDC offers the best way to remove it. Follow these steps:

  • Using a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick— this can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain embedded.
  • If the mouth parts do break off, remove them with tweezers. If you are unable to remove them easily with clean tweezers, leave them alone and let the skin heal.
  • After you have removed the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  • Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach.
  • Seek medical attention if:

  • The tick might have been on the skin for more than 24 hours.
  • Part of the tick remains in the skin after you have attempted to remove it.
  • A rash of any kind develops, especially a red-ringed bulls eye rash, or red spots on the wrists or ankles, as this is a symptom of Lyme disease.

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