Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, which even includes your backyard. Ticks like to crawl up and be in warm places like armpits or below the waist. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Be sure to conduct a thorough search.

If you find a tick on your body, your children, or your pets it is important to remove it immediately. To properly remove an attached tick, use a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal scoop, and follow the tick removal steps at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

diagram illustrating proper tick removal technique.Tick Removal

1.  Use 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 are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

4. Dispose of a live tick by submerging it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

5. You can submit a tick specimen to a variety of tick testing labs across New England. For more information on tick testing sites, check out the following websites:

6. Keep the specimen in a sealed container with a blade of grass or submerge in alcohol. See Identify for tick testing resources.

7. If you have had a tick attached to you or your child, remove it, save it, and see a healthcare professional. If the health care provider identifies the bite as high-risk, you will likely be given antibiotics. This follows the new 2019 Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease.