We are experiencing exceptionally high volumes in our emergency rooms.
Every patient is important to us, and we are doing all we can to provide care quickly and efficiently.
Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

First Aid: Tick Bites

First Aid

Most tick bites are harmless and don't need medical treatment. But some ticks (like the deer tick, wood tick, and others) can carry harmful germs that cause diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. The deer tick is tiny, no larger than a pencil point. Other ticks are larger and easier to find on the skin.

How Do I Remove a Tick?

It's important to remove a tick as soon as possible. Follow these steps:

  1. Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to the skin.
  2. Pull firmly and steadily until the tick lets go of the skin. Do not twist the tick or rock it from side to side. Parts of the tick might stay in the skin, but eventually will come out on their own.
  3. Wash your hands and the site of the bite with soap and water.
  4. Swab the bite site with alcohol.

Note: Never use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove a tick. These methods don't get the tick off the skin, and can make it burrow deeper and release more saliva (which makes it more likely to pass a disease).

What Are the Signs of Tick-Related Diseases?

Watch out for:

  • a red bump ringed by an expanding red rash, which looks like a bull's-eye (Lyme disease)
  • red dots on the ankles and wrists (Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
  • flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, tiredness, vomiting, and muscle and joint aches

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Call your doctor if:

  • The tick might have been on the skin for more than 24 hours.
  • Part of the tick remains in the skin.
  • A rash of any kind develops (especially a red-ringed bull's-eye rash or red dots on wrists and ankles).
  • The bite area looks infected (increasing warmth, swelling, pain, or oozing pus).
  • Symptoms like fever, headache, tiredness, stiff neck or back, or muscle or joint aches develop.

How Can I Protect My Kids From Ticks?

  • After kids play outside, check their skin and hair — especially the scalp, behind the ears, around the neck, in the eyebrows and eyelashes, and under the arms.
  • When playing in wooded areas, kids should wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and tuck pant legs into their socks.
  • Use an insect repellent with at least 10% to 30% DEET for protection against bites and stings in kids older than 2 years. Always carefully follow the label directions for applying.
  • Avoid tick-infested areas.

Reviewed by: Michelle M. Karten, MD
Date Reviewed: 02-05-2019

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.