What is a Tick bite?
Ticks are foremost transporters or vectors of illnesses to individuals, especially in the US. They are second to mosquitoes globally. It is actually not the bite of the tick but organism toxins or secretions that are in the saliva of the ticks and that is transmitted thru the bite that causes diseases.
There are 2 tick families that cause disease or illnesses to be transmitted or caused by bites. The two are:
- Ixodidae – hard ticks
- Argasidae – soft ticks
Hard ticks have a back plate or scutum which is tough that delineates this family’s appearance. Hard ticks have a tendency to attach and then feed from hours to days. The transmission of diseases normally occurs towards the end of the meal as the tick becomes engorged with blood.
Deer Tick Bite
Deer ticks are unlike any other kind of ticks because they carry Lyme disease which is a disease that causes fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and joint pain as well as can often develop into a disease which causes lasting neurological damage and heart damage if not detected early and immediately treated. It is believed that almost one-third of all deer ticks can carry Lyme disease. It is important to learn how to correctly remove any tick as incorrect removal can force more bacteria into the body.
Tick Bite Symptoms
Bites on ticks are normally painless. Most individuals will not even notice the bite and can never even find the tick if it falls away. Ticks that are small, for instance the deer tick which transmits Lyme disease, are so very small that they can be also undetectable. However, there are certain symptoms that do occur which are directly linked to the tick itself; they are due to the bite of the tick. The actual bite can cause symptoms only after the tick is removed. But, some individuals may experience itching, local redness, burning as well as rarely, some intense pain (from soft ticks) after or before the tick falls off. But most tick bites normally have very few if any direct symptoms.
The effects of the diseases which are transmitted by ticks usually start days to weeks after the tick is long gone. That is the reason that physicians may not be suspicious of an illness being related to a tick since most individuals forget or ignore barely noticeable bites. The significant clue about an illness being tick-related is when the physician is told about a tick bite. As well, the individual should tell their physician about any outdoor camping or hiking in any areas which are tick-infested even if the individual does not remember being bitten by a tick.
After being bitten by a tick, individuals might develop any of the below symptoms due to the pathogen that the tick might have transmitted during the bite:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Pain as well as swelling in the joints
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
Tick Bite Rash
Observe any bite area for expanding redness, which can be an indication of erythema migrans or EM which is the rash which is characteristic of Lyme disease.
The EM rash is normally the color of salmon but, rarely, it can be a very intense color of red, and will often look like the beginning of a skin infection. It will almost be a uniform color. This skin lesion normally expands over the next few days or weeks and can grow to be over 20 cm or 8 inches in diameter. As the rash continues, the center of the rash will become a lighter color developing which is commonly called the “bull’s eye appearance”. The rash may itch or burn.
Tick Bite Treatment
Here are the procedures to follow to remove a tick when found on an individual’s body:
- Calm the individual down and examine the site of the tick bite. If the tick is engorged it can be a sign that it has been there for some time.
- Take tweezers and go near a very bright light. The most important factors in removal are to remove the entire tick.
- Grasp the head of the tick as closely to the point of entry as possible.
- Pull the tick out of the individual’s body carefully and then drop into a small glass container or jar.
- Examine the bite and make sure the mouth-parts were removed. If not, you must go back with the tweezers and remove them.
- Pouring rubbing alcohol into the container will kill the tick so that you can take it to a Lyme disease specialist for lab testing.
- Wash the bite and dab tea tree oil on the bite. Tea tree oil is a natural oil which is antibacterial.
- Visit your physician
If the individual develops any symptoms of Lyme disease, the physician will start the individual on a course of antibiotics.