Ticks should be removed promptly. The longer a tick is attached the higher the risk of disease transmission. Ticks can attach to any part of the body but prefer areas such as the armpits, ears, groin, neck and scalp. Tick checks should be preformed routinely after being outdoors. 

The tick’s mouthparts have reverse harpoon-like barbs, designed to penetrate and attach to the skin. Ticks secrete a cement-like substance that helps them adhere firmly to their host.    

You should NEVER squeeze, crush or puncture the tick’s body because in doing so it may cause the tick to release potential infected fluids into the bite-site. For the same reason, do NOT twist or jerk the tick, do NOT apply petroleum jelly, a hot match, or any other irritants. Irritating the tick may cause it to accelerate the transmission of any diseases it may carry.  

These guidelines should be followed during tick removal:


1. Use fine-tipped tweezers and firmly but gently grasp the tick’s mouthparts as close to the skin as possible. Try to protect bare hands with a tissue or gloves to avoid contact with tick fluids.


2. Gently pull the tick straight out, being careful not to twist or jerk the tick, as this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. You may have to tug gently several times for the tick to release.

3. Immediately after removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite area and wash your hands with soap and water.

4. Place the tick in a small baggie or pill bottle along with a damp piece of cotton or paper towel to help keep the tick alive.

If you have any questions, please call the MLDA at 888-784-5963.

images courtesy of CDC