They say you don't need to worry about the ticks you find on your skin; you need to worry about the ones you don't find...
This is the smallest tick I’ve ever found on me — so small that I wouldn’t have found it by feel — I had to think “huh, I didn’t think I had a freckle there” and investigate further. (I wouldn’t be sharing this photo if I didn’t think it might save someone serious hardship down the line.)
Ticks are bad news. The most famous ones are deer ticks which carry lyme disease, but ticks can carry and transmit many other diseases, many of which are not well understood and tracked. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can cause an allergy to meat and I’ve read reports of people experiencing major psychological change from tick-borne pathogens. I suspect that a lot of people never get a correct diagnosis, and may never have realized they were bitten by a tick in the first place.
1. Try to avoid ticks latching (wear clothes/boots treated with Permethrin, wear repellant on your ankles and any exposed skin, tuck your pants or long-johns into your socks, don't brush against plants, do a thorough tick check when you get home, etc.)
Feel for ticks, but also have a friend visually check the places you can’t see. Check everywhere, but especially your legs, joints (e.g. armpits) and hairline.
2. Know what kind of ticks are a threat in your area, so that you know what diseases and symptoms to watch out for and what treatment or preventative drugs might be available for immediate action. e.g.:
3. Remove the tick: take a thread (if the tick is very small, you may need to unravel it to get something thin enough), tie it in a knot around the tick, as close to the skin as possible (you may need to have someone hold the tick perpendicular to the skin with their finger or with a drinking straw), and then gently pull until it comes off. (I've also heard that you can tape the ends of the thread to a pencil and then twist the pencil until the twists reach the tick and it lets go).
4. Learn about ticks more generally, and what you should do, given the type of tick and amount of time it was latched:
Ticks home | CDC
Information on ticks and tickborne disease. Provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.