Tick Bite First Aid: June 2019 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: What is the first aid for a tick bite?

Answer:   Most tick bites are painless and cause only minor signs and symptoms, such as redness, swelling or a sore on the skin. But some ticks transmit bacteria that cause illnesses, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In general, to transmit Lyme disease a tick needs to be attached for at least 36 hours. Other infections can be transferred in a few hours or even a few minutes says the Mayo Clinic.

First Aid:

  • Remove the tick promptly and carefully.Use fine-tipped forceps or tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Gently pull out the tick using a slow and steady upward motion. Avoid twisting or squeezing the tick. Don’t handle the tick with bare hands. Experts don’t recommend using petroleum jelly, fingernail polish or a hot match to remove a tick.
  • If possible, seal the tick in a container.Put the container in a freezer. Your doctor may want to see the tick if you develop new symptoms.
  • Wash your hands and the bite site.Use warm water and soap, rubbing alcohol, or an iodine scrub.

When to seek emergency care: Call 911 or your local emergency number if you develop:

  • A severe headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Paralysis
  • Heart palpitations

When to contact your doctor

  • If you can’t completely remove the tick.
  • The rash gets bigger.
  • You develop flu-like signs and symptoms. You think the bite site is infected.  You think you were bitten by a deer tick.


Brought to you by Ohio BWC safety consultants.