Anyone who spends a significant amount of time outdoors these days knows ticks are a problem.

And unfortunately, they’re more than just a nuisance. Ticks carry all manner of diseases, most notably Lyme disease.

Finding one embedded in your skin is not cause for immediate despair, though. It takes hours – some professionals say as many as 24 to 48 – for them to transmit disease. And not all carry disease at all.

But you don’t want to give any sick ones time to do their work either. Should you find a tick, the goal is to get rid of it as soon as possible.

There are a lot of home remedies of sorts for doing that.

You need not pay attention to any of them. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection, all you need to remove a tick is a set of fine-tipped tweezers.

Use them to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. Then, pull upward with steady, even pressure.

You don’t want to twist or jerk the tick, as that can cause the mouth parts to break off and be left behind in your skin. (If that happens, remove the mouth if you can. If you can’t, that’s OK. Leave it alone and allow the skin to heal).

After removing the tick, clean the bite area with soap and water and rubbing alcohol.

At that point, you have to put aside any thoughts of revenge.

I mean, chances are, you’ll want to crush the tick, right?

Well, don’t. That runs the risk of exposing yourself to any disease it was carrying.

Instead, you can do one of two things.

The first is dispose of the tick. You can flush it down the toilet, drown it in alcohol, throw it away in a sealed bag or bind it in tape.

The second is save it for testing, to see if it in fact was carrying disease. You’ll have to place it in a sealed container, along with a blade of grass to keep it alive.

Some state agencies test ticks. Otherwise, ask if your doctor can recommend a test facility.

No matter what you do with the tick, keep an eye on the bite site for several weeks after your tick encounter. If you develop a rash or fevers, talk to your doctor, being sure to mention the tick.

He or she can then administer the proper treatment.

The presence of ticks is no reason to stay indoors, after all. But it pays to be smart about your health.

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See also: Tips on dealing with mice in trail shelters.