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Tickborne Diseases

Tick Bites/Prevention

Ticks are generally found near the ground, in brushy or wooded areas. They can’t jump or fly. Instead, they climb tall grasses or shrubs and wait for a potential host to brush against them. When this happens, they climb onto the host and seek a site for attachment.

Prevention

  1. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Additional repellent options are available. EPA’s repellent search tool can help find the product that best suits your needs
  2. Treat dogs and cats for ticks as recommended by a veterinarian.
  3. Check for ticks daily, especially under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and on the hairline and scalp.
  4. Shower soon after being outdoors.
  5. Learn more about landscaping techniques that can help reduce blacklegged tick populations in the yard.

Tick Removal

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. The key is to remove the tick as soon as possible. Avoid folklore remedies such as using nail polish, petroleum jelly, or heat to make the tick detach from the skin.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with clean tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth parts easily, leave them alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
Small embedded tick on persons thumb

Embedded tick

Embedded tick being grasped by a pair of tweezers

Tick removal, step 1
Photo courtesy of Mike Wren, NY State
Department of Health

Embedded tick being removed with a pair of tweezers

Tick removal, step 2
Photo courtesy of Mike Wren, NY State
Department of Health

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