Tick Removal

How do I properly remove a tick?

If you have been bitten it is important to properly remove the tick.

Illustration showing how to remove a tick.

  • Step 1: Use a tweezer to grasp the tick as close as possible to the skin
  • Step2: Pull upward, with steady even pressure, until the tick releases to avoid breaking the mouthparts of the tick or rupturing the tick's body.
  • Step 3: After tick removal, clean the skin and bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and warm water.
  • Step 4:  Save the tick in a bag or container with rubbing alcohol for identification in case an illness develops in the days after tick attachment. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Save and identify your tick. If you start to feel sick later, this information can help your doctor determine whether or not you have developed a disease from a tick bite.

How do identify a tick?

Among the 16 tick species in Virginia, only three species commonly bite people.  Learn more about Tick Species in Virginia.

If you start to feel sick a few days or week after your tick bite, knowing that it was a tick bite, and what kind of tick it was may help you or your doctor determine whether or not you have developed a tick-borne disease what disease you may have been exposed to.

You can send your tick to VDH for help with identification: Virginia Tick Survey

What do I do if I feel sick and suspect a tick encounter?

If you think you may be sick from a tick bite, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible after you start to feel sick.

At your appointment it will be helpful for your healthcare provider to know:

  • that you were recently bitten by a tick
  • what your symptoms are
  • here in Virginia (or another state) you were bitten,
  • and which species it could be.

This information may help your doctor decide on the best laboratory tests needed to figure out what is making you feel sick.

For more information about symptoms of tick diseases, visit Symptoms of Tickborne Illness | Ticks | CDC.

Opens pdf to download

Opens document to download

Opens in a new window

External link will open in new window.  Click link to exit Virginia Department of Health Website.