Tick bite: what should I do?

When the weather gets warmer, we want to head outside. But this is also the time when ticks become active. If you’ve been bitten by a tick, you need to know how to remove it and when to see your GP.

17.05.2018 Lara Brunner

Ticks like warm, moist skin. Make sure you inspect the following areas carefully:

  • Armpits
  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Hairline
  • Navel
  • Backs of knees
  • Inner elbows

Why do I need to remove ticks?

Ticks can transmit infections. To prevent infection, ticks should be removed immediately. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are transmitted within 16 to 24 hours. The bacteria enter the human body in secretions emitted by the ticks. By contrast, the tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus enters the body when the tick bites you, because the pathogens are contained in the tick’s saliva glands.
The tick vaccine is only effective for preventing tick-borne encephalitis (TBE); it does not prevent Lyme disease.

More about the symptoms and progression of Lyme disease

What happens during a tick bite

Ticks feed by penetrating your skin and extracting blood. Their mouth parts are made up of cutting organs, with which they cut the skin to access the blood supply, and the hypostome, which they insert into the incision to suck out the blood. The hypostome is anchored in the surrounding tissue with small barbs.

How to remove ticks safely

To completely remove a tick, you will need to use tweezers, a tick card or a tick pen. Take hold of the tick’s head and pull it out slowly. Check that you have removed the whole tick and that no mouth parts are left in the wound. Lastly, disinfect the area.

What to remember when removing a tick:

  1. Always place the tweezers around the head, not the body.
  2. Do not try to burn the tick off or soak the tick in oil or alcohol.
  3. It is important to remove the tick as soon as possible. If you don’t have a suitable tool at hand, remove the tick with your fingernails.

Tick bite: when do I need to see my GP?

In most cases, there is no need to see a doctor after being bitten by a tick. However, in the following cases, you will need to visit your GP:

  • You are unable to remove the tick, or fail to remove all of it.
  • After removing the tick, a red circular rash develops around the bite.
  • You experience flu-like symptoms a few days later.
  • The tick bite becomes infected and begins to fester.

I didn’t notice a tick bite

Once the tick is no longer attached to your skin, it can be difficult to spot a tick bite. There is no way of telling whether you have a tick bite or a mosquito bite. Disinfect the wound and monitor the area over the next few days. If you notice any of the symptoms described in this article, you should see a doctor.

Read more

Lyme disease: how the disease progresses
Take action if you notice a skin rash or experience flu-like symptoms after being bitten by a tick: you may have contracted Lyme disease.
May 23, 2018

Tick vaccination: what you need to know
Read on to find out whether you need a tick vaccination or a vaccination booster.
March 31, 2021


Find out more about current health issues and get all the information you need about our attractive offers, delivered by e-mail to read whenever it suits you. Our newsletter is free of charge and you can sign up here:


Thank you for registering.
You have just received an email with a confirmation link. Please click on this to complete your registration.

Unfortunately an error has occurred.

We did not receive your information. Please try again later or call our customer services on 0844 80 81 82.