Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms tick paralysis Treatment questions for doctor Home Care tick removal warning signs Prevention Outlook Complications Underlying Cause

Bitten by a Tick Home Care

Home care for a tick bite includes:

  • Remove the tick completely.
  • Clean the skin gently:
    • 2-3 times a day
    • Use mild soap and water.
    • Do not scrub the skin.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment.
  • Cover the wound:
    • Use gauze or an elastic bandage.
  • Do not scratch the wound.
  • Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream for itching:
    • Apply to the skin, 4 times a day.

Tetanus Considerations
A tetanus shot is necessary right away if you have not had three tetanus shots in the past.

If you have received three tetanus shots in the past, you need a tetanus shot within three days for a dirty wound.

Bitten by a Tick Tick Removal

Ticks usually require about 36 hours of attachment to the skin, in order to transmit bacteria from their bodies.

A tick can be removed safely by performing the following:

  • Grasp the neck or head of the tick with tweezers.
    • Do not squeeze the body.
  • Pull slowly, and straight out. Do not twist the head.
  • Remove remaining mouth parts by cleaning with alcohol and scraping with a knife or blade or a sterile needle.
  • Clean the wound with soap and water.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment.
  • See a doctor within 24 hours if you cannot remove a tick.

Bitten by a Tick Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have a tick bite and any of the following:

Continue to Bitten by a Tick Prevention

Last Updated: Jan 6, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bitten by a Tick References
  1. Berger BW, Johnson RC, Kodner C, Coleman L. Cultivation of Borrelia burgdorferi from human tick bite sites: a guide to the risk of infection. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1995 Feb;32(2 Pt 1):184-7. [7829700]
  2. Jensenius M, Fournier PE, Kelly P, Myrvang B, Raoult D. African tick bite fever. Lancet Infect Dis. 2003 Sep;3(9):557-64. Review. [12954562]
  3. Middleton DB. Tick-borne infections. What starts as a tiny bite may have a serious outcome. Postgrad Med. 1994 Apr;95(5):131-9. [8153039]
  4. Smith-Fiola DC, Hallman WK. Tick bite victims and their environment: the risk of Lyme disease. N J Med. 1995 Sep;92(9):601-3. [7566679]
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