You just found a tick on your child! What should you do? First, don't panic. It's true that Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. But your child's risk of developing Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick is very low. To be safe, though, you'll want to remove the tick as soon as possible. The risk of infection rises 24–48 hours after the tick attaches to the skin. What to Do Step 1: Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to the skin. Step 2: Pull firmly and steadily until the tick lets go of the skin. Do not twist the tick or rock it from side to side. If part of the tick stays in the skin, don't worry. It will eventually come out on its own. Step 3: Release the tick into a jar or zip-locked bag. Step 4: Wash your hands and the site of the bite with soap and water. Step 5: Swab the bite site with alcohol. Then, call your doctor, who might want to see the tick. Sometimes, doctors prescribe a preventive dose of antibiotics for kids at high risk for Lyme disease. Note: Never use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove a tick. These methods don't get the tick off the skin, and can make it burrow deeper. When Should I Call the Doctor? Call the doctor right away if your child has: a red-ringed rash or skin that's red and irritated flu-like symptoms joint pain or a swollen joint facial paralysis (can't move areas of the face) Other conditions can also cause these symptoms. But having your child seen early means that if it is Lyme disease, treatment can begin quickly. Back to Articles Related Articles Bug Bites and Stings Most bug bites and stings are just annoying. But some can cause infections and allergic reactions. It's important to know what to watch for, and when to get medical attention. Read More Bug Bites and Stings Generally, insect bites and stings are harmless. Find out how to keep pests from ruining your fun. Read More Lyme Disease Lyme disease can affect the skin, joints, nervous system, and other organ systems. If Lyme disease is diagnosed quickly and treated with antibiotics, most people feel better quickly. Read More How Can I Prevent Lyme Disease? Does the thought of Lyme disease make you worry about enjoying the great outdoors? Here's some information to help you lower your risk for Lyme disease. Read More Lyme Disease The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Find out more about this disease and how to keep those ticks away. Read More Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a disease caused by a bacteria that is carried by certain types of ticks. Learn about the signs and symptoms of RMSF and tips for preventing infection in this article. Read More Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Rocky Mountain spotted fever is an infection spread by ticks. Find out more about it - including how to prevent it. Read More Lyme Disease Lyme disease can be treated if it's caught early. Find out what causes it, how it's treated, and how to prevent it. Read More Hey! A Tick Bit Me! A tick attaches itself to the skin of a person or animal and sucks blood. If you have a dog, it may have picked up a tick before! Learn more about ticks in this article for kids. Read More First Aid: Tick Bites Some ticks carry harmful germs that can cause disease. Find out what to do if your child is bitten by a tick. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.