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.
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
- 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:
- You cannot remove the tick.
- Worsening pain at the site of the bite
- Pus drains from the bite
- Brown of yellow scabs form over the bite
- Red streaks spread from the bite:
- Lymphangitis of the arm
- Lymphangitis of the back of the leg
- Lymphangitis of the hand from a finger wound
- Skin redness and pain around the bite:
- Cellulitis of the arm
- Cellulitis of the hand
- Cellulitis of the leg
- Cellulitis of the foot
- Cellulitis of the abdomen
- Worsening rash
- Worsening headache
- Worsening neck pain
- Worsening joint pains
- Leg weakness (unilateral)
Continue to Tick Bite Prevention
- 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. 
- Jensenius M, Fournier PE, Kelly P, Myrvang B, Raoult D. African tick bite fever. Lancet Infect Dis. 2003 Sep;3(9):557-64. Review. 
- Middleton DB. Tick-borne infections. What starts as a tiny bite may have a serious outcome. Postgrad Med. 1994 Apr;95(5):131-9. 
- 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.