Here are the five biggest myths about ticks:

  1. The best way to remove a tick is with a lit match, fingernail polish, or petroleum jelly.

    Tick MythsFact — None of these methods cause the tick to "back out" and all of them may actually result in the tick depositing more disease-carrying saliva into the wound, increasing the risk of infection.

    The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it as close to the skin as possible with tweezers and pull the tick's body out with a steady motion. Wear rubber gloves and clean the skin with soap and water after removal. Dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.

  2. Lyme disease is the only illness that ticks can transmit to dogs and humans.

    Fact: — Lyme is the most widely known and common tick disease, but there are many others that ticks carry and can transmit to dogs and people. These include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis (sometimes known as "dog fever"), ehrlichiosis and some emerging diseases with potentially devastating effects.
  1. If I find a tick on myself or someone in my family, Lyme and other diseases can be ruled out immediately with a blood test.

    Fact: — According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), lab results for tick-borne illness in people are often negative on the first sample and require a second test 2-3 weeks later to confirm infection. Children are more susceptible to infection due to their immature immune systems. Dogs with tick-borne illness don't experience any symptoms in the early stages of disease.

  2. Ticks aren't a problem in the winter when it's too cold for them to live outside.

    Fact: — In most areas of the country, high seasons for ticks runs from April to November. Experts recommend year-round preventives. In the winter, for example, some species move indoors and are in closer contact with pets and people, while others make a type of "antifreeze" to survive the cold winter months.

  3. Ticks live in trees, so as long as I don't live near or visit a wooded area, I don't have to worry about them.

    Fact: — Ticks live on the ground no matter the locale, be it an urban park or a rural area. They typically crawl up from grass blades onto a host and migrate upward, which is why they are often found on the scalp.