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Health Services > Queensland Poisons Information Centre


Ticks are widespread in Australia.  Tick bites generally cause minimal discomfort, but rarely humans can Picture of a tick.experience allergic reactions, paralysis and tickborne diseases.

The key treatment of tick bite is prompt and complete removal of the tick. Use fine tipped tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Gently pull the tick straight out with steady pressure.

Image 1 of 2 on how to remove a tick with tweezers.Image 2 of 2 on how to remove a tick with tweezers.



Images: Removal with tweezers, courtesy of

Alternatively a tick may be removed using the knot method.  Make a loose half-hitch in a thread such as a piece of dental floss.  The open knot is slipped over the tick as close as possible to the skin and then pulled taut.  The embedded tick then usually somersaults out.  If you have difficulty removing all parts of the tick, seek medical attention.

Other methods of removal, involving irritants such as kerosene or a hot match, are not recommended. Once removed, follow general first aid for bites and stings.

Upon removal of the tick, conduct a thorough search of the body for other ticks, especially body folds and creases.

Paralysis can result if the tick remains undiscovered on the body.  Symptoms include general unsteadiness, tiredness, visual difficulties and weakness of the arms, legs or parts of the face. If symptoms of tick paralysis are present, seek medical attention immediately.

Tickborne bacterial infections are rare. Symptoms include headache, fever, joint and muscle pain and a spotted rash. If unwell after tickbite, seek medical attention. 

Preventative measures to avoid tick bites:

After returning from a tick area, thoroughly check the body of all members of the party (especially children) for ticks.  Pay particular attention to the back of the head and neck, groin, armpits and back of the knees.

Last Updated: 01 October 2013
Last Reviewed: 01 October 2013