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Tick Bites

Ticks are classified as arthropods and they fall under two families. These families are Ixodidae standing for hard ticks and argasidae, which stand for soft ticks. Most tick bites are harmless and may not require medication but there are other ticks like wood tick and deer tick that can carry harmful germs causing diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted disease. Hard ticks feed for hours to days and may transmit disease near the end of a meal when the tick becomes full of blood.

Symptoms of tick bites

Tick bites are not painful and remain painless even after the tick has fed and dropped from the skin. However, later after the bite, the skin may start itching, becomes red and has a burning sensation. Rarely will the bite cause localized intense pain. Some people are allergic or sensitive to tick bites and this arises due to tick saliva secretions. People with such autoimmune reactions develop rashes, shortness of breath, numbness, swelling and paralysis.

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A vast majority of people bitten by ticks will not develop signs and they do not remember having been bitten. Some people may also develop symptoms like weakness, fever, swelling, paralysis and shortness of breath and they need to see a doctor. Other symptoms, which may appear though rarely, are palpitations, confusion and headaches.

Diagnosing a tick bite

There are no tests that identify tick bites or the type of tick that has caused a bite if it has dropped from the skin. A doctor may examine the entire body to look for ticks, which may be attached. The doctor also examines the rashes and symptoms of diseases caused by ticks. If a tick is identified, the doctor can decide which tests need to be done.

Knowledge of the tick type can help narrow down the possible tests, which may be done. The genus and species are used to establish the disease, which may have been transmitted. Tests are necessary if an individual exhibits symptoms after having been bitten by a tick. For diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, tularemia, and ehrlichiosis, a blood test may not be positive for weeks following the exposure to the pathogens but symptoms may be present.

Most bites will not show symptoms and if an individual develops symptoms, tests need to be done with help of specialist in infectious disease. There is a wide range of symptoms, which may develop days to weeks after a bite, and they will depend on the particular pathogen or microbe, which transmits the condition. The general symptoms will include joint pain, palpitations, vomiting, rash, confusion, numbness, fever, nausea, weakness and swelling.

What do you do when a tick bites you?

When you are bitten by a tick, you need to remove it promptly and carefully. You need to use tweezers to grasp the tick close to its head or mouth and then pull gently ensuring that you remove the tick without crushing it. Soft ticks can crush easily and this could cause infections on the bitten area.

When you remove the tick, you should seal it in container and put it in a freezer. This tick may help your doctor if you begin developing symptoms of illness thereafter. You also need to wash the bitten part and your hands with soap and water. You should not use other methods like painting the tick with nail polish or gasoline in a bid to remove it. These kinds of treatments can lead to release of fluids back to the bite increasing the chances of transmitting disease even before the tick releases itself to the skin.

If you are not able to completely remove the tick, you need to call your doctor. You need to seek for a doctor immediately if you develop signs like rashes, fever, neck stiffness, joint pain and inflammation. If you have swollen lymph nodes, flu-like symptoms and sensitivity to light on the skin or eyes (photosensitivity) you should see a doctor.

Treatment of tick bites

Treatment of tick bites depends on the symptoms caused. Although tick bites are mainly harmless, the bitten skin may become itchy and reddened. In this case, you need to use local cleansing with soap and water and apply antibiotic cream. If the bitten skin becomes itchy, you may need to use preparations containing diphenhydramine as recommended by your doctor.

The medication may be applied directly on the skin or administered orally with tablets. More treatment is needed if pathogens are passed on to your body. Passing of pathogens to your body depends on factors like length of time in which the tick has attached to the host, the common diseases in the community and the symptoms, which have appeared after the bite. Specialized treatment is based on type of the pathogen transmitted.

Preventing tick bites

Ticks can be prevented by using acaricides (tick killing chemicals) in areas where ticks are prevalent like yards and deer blinds. You may also consider reducing tick habitats by clearing leaves, tall grass and litter.

Tick Bites Pictures

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One Response to "Tick Bites"

  1. cyndi says:

    thank you for the great info!!

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