If you find a tick attached to you or your pet, there is no need to panic. You should remove the tick as soon as possible following the steps below. If you are uncomfortable with these steps, visit your medical or veterinary provider.
How to safely remove a tick:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible (see picture below).
- Pull straight up with steady, even pressure. Avoid twisting or jerking the tick, which can cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, try to remove the mouthparts with tweezers. If you are unable to easily remove the mouthparts, keep the area clean and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Save the tick in a clean sealed bag or container and submit it for species identification and pathogen testing through the Alaska Submit-A-Tick Program.
Avoid remedies such as using petroleum jelly or using heat to make a tick detach. The key is to remove the tick as soon as possible rather than waiting for it to detach.
If you or your pet develops a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor or veterinarian. Be sure to tell them about the recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you or your pet most likely acquired the tick.