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

Tick Bite 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.

Tick Bite 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.

Tick Bite Warning Signs

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

Continue to Tick Bite Prevention

Last Updated: Jan 6, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Tick Bite 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]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.