Current Environment:

Tick Bites

Tick Bites normally don’t hurt - that’s why they often go unnoticed. Most bites do not spread disease. However, if the tick does transfer a disease, a rash will usually occur in 2 to 4 weeks (though it can be sooner).


  • After spending time outside in woodsy or grassy areas, check the body for ticks. A thorough scalp massage works well for finding tiny ticks in thick hair.
  • Take a shower soon after coming inside.
  • Tumble any clothing in a hot dryer for 10 minutes; the heat should kill any insects hidden in clothing.
  • When hiking outside, wear long clothing and tuck the ends of pants into socks.
  • Use bug repellents for clothing and exposed skin.
    • Skin: DEET is an effective tick repellent. Use 30% DEET for children and adolescents. Products containing picaridin are also effective.
    • Clothing: Permethrin-containing products (e.g., Duranon or Permanone Tick Spray) are highly effective tick repellents. Apply to clothes, especially pant cuffs, socks, and shoes. You can also put it on other outdoor items like mosquito screens or sleeping bags. DO NOT APPLY PERMETHRIN TO SKIN.

Tick Removal

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible (on its head). Pull straight upward without twisting or crushing it, maintaining a steady pressure until it releases its grip.
  • If tweezers aren’t available, use fingers, a loop of thread around the tick’s jaws, or a needle between the jaws for traction (the jaws are the part of the head attached to the skin).
  • If the tick is tiny, scrape it off; the edge of a credit card works well.
  • If the head breaks off in the skin, remove any large pieces. Clean the skin with rubbing alcohol and use clean tweezers or a needle to scrape it off. If a small piece of the head remains, the skin will slowly heal and shed it.

Note: Covering the tick with petroleum jelly, nail polish, a soapy cotton ball, or rubbing alcohol doesn't work, nor does touching the tick with a hot or cold object. Plus, using hot objects risks burning the patient.

Antibiotic Ointment

Wash the wound and your hands with soap and water after removal. Apply antibiotic ointment (i.e. Bacitracin) to the bite once.

When to Call the Office

  • You can’t remove the tick.
  • Tick appears embedded/engorged.
  • Fever, flu-like illness, or rash appear within the next 4 weeks.
  • Bite begins to look infected.
  • Your child becomes sicker.


Last Updated 3/28/2022

Source Adapted from Pediatric Telephone Protocols 17th Edition (Copyright © 2022 American Academy of

Pediatrics). For more information visit

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be

variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances