Ticked Off
Basics on ticks and how to take care of yourself


Nowadays, finding a tick climbing on your clothes or attached to your body is not always from hunting, hiking or spending time in the woods. A tick can make its way even after short outdoor activities, like planting marigolds in your well-mowed front yard.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme and other diseases contracted by ticks are on the rise. Changing climate patterns, reforestation and increase in suburban neighborhoods are all contributing reasons for this rise.

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Despite the increase in both ticks and issues they cause, it is still possible to enjoy working around the house or hiking in the woods if you learn a few important pieces of information:

  • Wear light colored clothes to make it easier to identify ticks later.
  • Always check yourself after time spent outdoors, including in the woods, in areas of tall grass or simply working around your home. Fully inspect your clothes and all areas of your body.
  • Bath or shower immediately after time spent outdoors. This can help to wash off any ticks before they bite and help you to see ticks on your body.
  • Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill any ticks you did not remove during your inspection.
  • Treat your dogs for ticks. Dogs can bring ticks into your home after time spent outside.
  • Seek medical treatment if you develop a rash or fever weeks after receiving a tick bite.
Remove Ticks by Following CDC Guidance
  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • 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.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
Other Information
Save and send ticks in for free to the Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania. You will receive results on any diseases detected, and you will also contribute to data on where ticks are and what they are carrying statewide.

According to Penn State Extension, two species of ticks, out of more than 900 in Pennsylvania, account for over 90 percent of cases submitted to Penn State: the blacklegged tick and the American dog tick. Familiarize yourself with what common PA ticks look like to help you identify those you find.