SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Ticks are small insect-like creatures that live in heavily wooded or grassy areas. They can attach to a person’s skin and feed on their blood.

Most ticks do not carry diseases, however, some do and that can cause someone to become seriously ill.

Here are some tips on how to remove a tick:

  • Sterilize the tip of the tweezers using rubbing alcohol and grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Avoid twisting, squeezing, or crushing the tick as this can cause its head or mouth to break off and remain in your skin. If this happens dermatologists suggest using tweezers to remove the remaining parts. If you cannot remove the rest of the tick see a board-certified dermatologist.
  • Dispose of the tick by placing it in a sealed bag or container. Submerse the tick in alcohol or wrap it tightly in tape.
  • Clean the bite area with soap and water.

Tick bites can happen anytime but they are most active from April through September.

How to prevent tick bites:

  • Avoid walking through heavily-wooded areas.
  • If you have to walk through heavily wooded areas you should wear long pants and long sleeves. You should also wear light-colored clothes so that ticks can be spotted easily.
  • Use insect repellent that contains 20 to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing.
  • Always examine skin after spending time in heavily wooded areas.