Ticks are external parasites that live on mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Both males and females feed on blood. They are considered harmful because they transmit diseases to humans. The two primary tick-borne diseases in the United States are Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
The best means to prevent the transmission of tick-borne diseases is to promptly remove any tick. This requires regular inspection of clothing and exposed skin for attached or unattached ticks. To remove a tick, grasp it crosswise with narrow tweezers as close to the point of attachment as possible (do not rupture the tick). Retract or pull tick firmly in the direction of attachment. Do not handle ticks with bare hands. Disinfect the bite site and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.