1. First, what exactly is a tick bite?
A tick bite is when a tick attaches itself to the skin, which can be both annoying and potentially carry
diseases. You might come across a tick when hiking or spending time outdoors, as ticks are commonly
found in grassy and wooded areas in the hot months, and they can easily latch onto humans and animals
as they brush past. Not all tick bites result in disease transmission, but ticks such as the black-legged tick,
can carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and others according to the Centers for Disease
2. How to remove a tick bite
So, you have a tick bite, now what do you do? The CDC Advises that you take the following steps:
1. Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
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
tweezers. If you cannot remove the mouth easily with tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin
3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or
soap and water.
4. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by:
- Putting it in alcohol
- Placing it in a sealed bag/container
- Wrapping it tightly in tape
- Flushing it down the toilet
When you discover a tick on your body (or your pet), it is crucial to remove it promptly and properly to
reduce the risk of disease transmission.
3. The symptoms of a tick bite
Most tick bites cause mild symptoms and may go unnoticed. However, in some cases, tick-borne
illnesses can show up with the following symptoms:
- Rash: A red, circular rash with a white center, known as a bull's-eye rash, can be a characteristic
sign of Lyme disease
- Flu-like symptoms like Fever, fatigue, headache, or muscle aches
- Neurological symptoms like dizziness, numbness, or tingling
- Swollen lymph nodes near the bite area
4. When to seek care
Tick bites, while most go without needing care, some do require seeing a provider. According to the
Mayo Clinic, you should seek care when:
- You aren’t able to completely remove the tick.
- If the rash gets bigger. A small bump may appear at the site of the tick bite. This is typical. If it
develops into a larger rash or you develop a rash anywhere
- Consult your provider even if the rash disappears
- You develop flu-like signs and symptoms
- You think the bite site is infected. Signs and symptoms include pain, change in skin color or
oozing from the site.
5. How to prevent tick bites
Now that you know all about tick bites, I am sure you are wondering how you can avoid these. Read our
previous blog on how to prevent tick bites: Some good ways include:
- Avoiding wooded and bushy areas
- Walking in the center of trails
- Using insect repellent
FastMed is one of the nation’s largest urgent care providers, proudly serving communities across North Carolina. FastMed provides a broad range of acute/episodic, preventive, and occupational healthcare – in its clinics and via telemedicine – as well as family medicine at select locations. FastMed is one of the few urgent care providers in the nation that has earned The Joint Commission’s coveted Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information, visit www.fastmed.com.