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Removing a Tick

image of tick being removed from skinIf you locate a tick on your body, remove it quickly and properly to help prevent infection. Infected ticks are most likely to transmit Lyme disease bacteria if they are attached to a person for more than 24 hours.

Here's how to remove a tick:

•  Using finely-tipped tweezers, carefully grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull it straight out, gently but firm. Afterwards, thoroughly clean the bite site with rubbing alcohol and/or soap and water.

DO NOT: try to burn off the tick. Squeezing the tick is not advisable either, as it can cause the Lyme disease agent to accidentally be released into your body.

• If possible after the tick is removed, place it in a screw-top bottle (a pill vial or film canister will work too) and record the date of the bite. Take the tick to your health care provider or local Health Unit office, so it can be sent to the Ontario Public Health Laboratory for identification. (NOTE: The Health Unit will only test ticks that have bitten/been attached to a person. Sending the tick for testing is not for diagnosis, but for surveillance purposes only)

NOTE: Public Health Ontario considers the central and eastern parts of Northumberland County to be 'high-risk' areas. This means blacklegged ticks are known to live in these areas of Northumberland, putting people at potentially greater exposure risk to Lyme disease. Since blacklegged ticks are known to be present here, the Health Unit will no longer accept ticks for testing in the area south of Highway 401 from Grafton east (through Cramahe and Brighton) to the Northumberland-Hastings counties boundary line. However, ticks can continue to be submitted for testing (for surveillance purposes) from all other areas of Northumberland County, as well as City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County.

HINT: Try to remember where you most likely acquired the tick. It can help public health workers identify areas of higher risk.

If you are using a tick-removal product like a 'tick key' or 'tick twister,' be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions.

FAQ: Tick Submission and Testing - Public Health Ontario