Been enjoying the Great Outdoors but have this feeling that something is crawling on you?  It could be a tick!  Ticks are small blood-feeding parasites that can transmit diseases to people. Some types of ticks perch on the edge of low-lying vegetation and grab onto animals, and people, as they brush past. Other ticks are associated with rodents and their nests and may only come out at night to feed. Once aboard, ticks crawl until they find a good spot to feed, then burrow their mouthparts into the skin for a blood meal. Their bodies slowly enlarge to accommodate the amount of blood ingested. Ticks feed anywhere from several minutes to several days depending on their species, life stage, and type of host.

If you find a tick attached, the first step is to remove it as quickly as possible.  Ticks must be attached in order to transmit any disease to you so prompt removal is very important. 

  • Promptly remove the tick using fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Avoid removing the tick with bare hands. Don't twist or jerk the tick -- this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouthparts with tweezers.
  • After removing the tick, disinfect the bite site and wash your hands.
  • Note the date that you found the tick attached to you, just in case you become ill. If a fever, rash, or flu-like illness occurs within a month, let your doctor know that you were bitten by a tick. This information may assist your doctor in diagnosing your illness.

You can also watch a short youtube video provided by TickEncounter Resource Center, University of Rhode Island by clicking on the following link.


The type of illness that a tick can transmit varies by tick.  Knowing the species of tick you were bitten by can be helpful to your medical provider when diagnosing potential illnesses.  Several agencies can identify your tick.  Please read about each and following their submittal instructions.

Washington Department of Health will identify the species of tick.  Fill out the Tick Identification Submission Form (PDF) and follow the shipping instructions.  You will be notified of what tick species it is. 

For more resources, check out these sites:

Washington Department of Health