Ticks are blood-sucking bugs from tiny to three inches in size. They have eight legs and are related to spiders. They vary in color from different shades of brown to black. Ticks live in outdoors like, trees, shrubs, and grass. Ticks are usually found in summers and spring months from April through September.
Ticks are attracted to human beings and their pets. If you are spending ample amount of time out, you’ll encounter them at some point in time. A tick typically prefers to go in warm and moist part of your body. And when they find the comfortable spot in your body, they start sucking blood.
Symptoms of a tick bite:
You may feel pain or little red swelling at the bite site. A burning sensation or a rash, and in a severe condition, you may suffer from breathing problem. Sometimes nausea, headache or weakness may also occur.
Rash from tick bites can cause various diseases such as Lyme disease, STARI – southern tick-associated rash illness, RMSF – rocky mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and ehrlichiosis. They all have their distinctive rashes.
1. Lyme disease:
The Lyme disease rash is circular rash known as erythema migrans which are visible in 3 to 30 days. The rash commonly appears in 80 percent of the infected person where it is bitten. It usually is not painful, but the affected area feels warm. If not detected and treated, Lyme disease can affect the nervous system.
If the early stage of the Lyme disease was not detected on time or was not treated, then the symptoms of the last stage of Lyme disease appear from seven days to years to find out.
In adults, it can cause facial paralysis and dizziness. In children, it causes tenderness and swelling in knees and joints and arthritis.
The rash in SARI is red circular patch quite similar to Lyme disease. But it is not associated with any neurological or arthritic symptoms like Lyme disease.
The rash in RMSF forms within two to five days after the fever starts and varies from person to person. It appears as small pink in color and is itchy. It is mainly found on the forearms, wrist, and ankles and can spread up to the trunk.
The red color rash of Rocky Mountain spotted fever is not visible until the 6th day, and the characteristic symptoms occur only in the ratio of 30 to 60 percent of the person who is infected.
In tularemia, ulcer happens at the site where there is a tick bite. With sore, there is also a swelling of lymph glands in groin and armpit.
In ehrlichiosis, the rash varies from macular to maculopapular to petechial. It is visible in 30 percent of the infected person in adults and 60 percent of children.
Most of the tick bites are harmless and do not require any treatment. But there are few ticks like, wood tick and deer tick which carry germs that can give diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
How to take out a tick at home?
Take tweezers and hold the tick firmly in its mouth or head. Then pull tightly till the tick comes out of the skin. Do not worry if the entire tick does not get out in one time. A part of it will automatically come out of its own.
Put this tick on the bag to give for a lab test. Wash your hands properly with soap and swab the portion where it was bitten, with alcohol. Then see your doctor immediately to find out that any medication or other treatment is necessary based on the tick type.
If you don’t understand how to take out the tick, then go to the doctor as early as possible. Do not use a hot matchstick or petroleum jelly to kill the tick. It will further go inside the skin and cause more problems.
Go to a doctor or call the doctor when:
- The tick is on the skin for more than 24 hours, or part of the tick is still in the skin
- A rash of any kind appears
- The bite appears as infected
- A headache persists
- There is a stiff neck
- There is a back pain
- A swelling continues
How to prevent yourself from a tick bite?
- Avoid tick-infested areas altogether.
- Wear full pants and shoes with legs and full sleeves and a long shirt or tee shirt when going outdoors in woods.
- Always walk-in centre, do not go very near to the tree while in woods.
- Take a thorough bath after you come from outdoors.
- Check the skin properly after shower especially behind the ears, in hair, behind the knees and legs.
It typically takes about 24 hours for a tick to infect a person. Therefore, the sooner the tick is identified and removed, it will save a lot of trouble.