Can You Get Bitten By A Tick In Winter
You can get bitten by a tick in the winter, but the likelihood is lessened for several reasons. For example, even if the weather is mild and ticks are still out looking for hosts, chances are your skin will be more thoroughly covered up in colder temperatures, which gives ticks less of an opportunity to latch on.
In areas where temperatures arent cold enough to warrant layers of clothing and complete covering of exposed skin, ticks can latch on the same as they would during the warmer months. Winter weather can often also involve series of increasing and decreasing temperatures. When a few cold days occur, followed by a stretch of unseasonal warmer weather, ticks can wake up from their hibernation and seek out a new host.
Black-legged ticks that do reach out for a host during those warmer days of winter do so because they did not get a full meal prior to the end of the fall season. Adult female ticks also require a full meal before dormancy to ensure they can lay their eggs the following spring, so when that happens, they have to take every advantage they can to latch on to a host, regardless of the season.
Image by on : What time of year do ticks carry Lyme disease? All year round.
I Found Out It Was A Deer Tick That Bit Me What Should I Do Now
If a deer tick bit you, one dose of an antibiotic called doxycycline can prevent Lyme disease if:
- you live in an area where there is a lot of Lyme disease
- the tick was probably attached to you for more than 36 hours
- the tick was removed in the last 3 days
Doxycycline should not be given to pregnant or breastfeeding women or to anyone allergic to doxycycline. If a tick bit you, ask your doctor if you should take doxycycline to prevent Lyme disease.
Is there anything I should look for after a tick bite?
After a tick bite, be on the look-out for signs of infection. The first sign of Lyme disease is usually a gradually enlarging, round or oval red discoloration of the skin surrounding the bite. The rash is usually neither painful nor itchy. Once the infection spreads, the same rash can be seen on other areas of the body. Other symptoms of infection may include:
- facial droop
- body aches.
Late manifestations of Lyme include swollen joints, and rarely neurologic problems like severe headaches. Lyme at any stage is treatable with a set course of antibiotics, typically two weeks and rarely more than a months duration.
What Does Lyme Disease Do To You
Though the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary, there is one common thread among them: these symptoms usually come in stages. They usually start with either the identification and removal of a tick or from a small, red bump, similar to a mosquito bite. Note that, according to the Mayo Clinic, these tick bite bumps dont always indicate the presence of Lyme disease, just of a previous tick.
About a month later, youre likely to experience other symptoms such as an expanding red area coming out from the bite that often clears in the center, forming a bulls eye pattern. This skin rash can expand to 12 inches in diameter. You can also develop a fever or chills, body aches, headaches, or neck stiffness and swollen lymph nodes.
You should see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. If Lyme disease goes untreated, you could develop debilitating joint pain, swelling, and even neurological problems, such as Bells palsy or impaired muscle movement. Remember: the earlier you begin treatment, the less severe your bought with this tough disease will likely be.
Also Check: Lab Work For Lyme Disease
What Blacklegged Ticks Look Like
Blacklegged ticks are small and hard to see. They attach themselves to humans and animals and feed on their blood. They can range in size depending on how long they have been feeding.
You can find out if its a blacklegged tick by:
- calling your local public health unit or checking their website
- submitting a photo of the tick to etick.ca
Adult female blacklegged tick at various stages of feeding. Photo: Government of Canada
Ticks That Dont Transmit Lyme Disease
While both the deer tick and western blacklegged tick can carry and transmit Lyme disease to humans, there are a large number of other tick species in the United States that dont carry or spread the disease. These include the following tick species:
- Lone Star ticks
- American dog tick
- Rocky Mountain wood tick
- Brown dog tick
Keep in mind that just because a tick doesnt carry Lyme disease, doesnt mean that a bite from that tick is entirely without risk. For example, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, brown dog tick, and American dog tick are all capable of carrying and spreading Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Also Check: Pics Of Tick Bites With Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease In Dogs And Other Pets
Household pets can get Lyme disease, too. Typical symptoms in animals include swollen joints and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite. Experts in the FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine say that dogs with Lyme disease occasionally develop serious kidney disease that can be fatal.
There are ways you can reduce your pets risk for tick bites and Lyme disease. Regularly checking pets for all types of ticks, for instance, reduces the risk of infection for both pet and owner. Avoid allowing your dog to roam in tick-infested areas.
Topical, oral and/or collar products are also very important in preventing Lyme disease in dogs.
There are two basic types of Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs. Talk to your veterinarian to see if vaccination is appropriate for your dog. There is no vaccination for cats, which do not seem susceptible to Lyme disease.
How To Remove A Tick
Removing a tick is the same for humans and animals. Its important you do not crush or damage the tick because it could cause Lyme bacteria to pass from the tick into your bloodstream.
How to remove a tick.
You May Like: Summer Rentals Old Lyme Ct
What Is Disseminated Lyme Disease
- This is when the bacteria that causes Lyme disease spreads throughout your body.
- This can occur within days to months after the tick bite.
- Symptoms include:
- Multiple erythema migrans rashes.,
- Nervous system involvement .,
- Heart involvement .,
- Connective tissue involvement .,
- Eye involvement .,
Types Of Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease
Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on August 11, 2020. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Around the world, there are hundreds of tick speciesâbut what ticks carry Lyme disease? Letâs take a closer look at the specific types of ticks that carry Lyme disease, where and when theyâre found, how you can help prevent tick bites, and how to test for Lyme disease from home if you are bitten.
Read Also: What Is The Test For Lyme Disease Called
Can Other Bugs Give Me Lyme
Researchers have found spirochetes in mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects. But it has not been proven that they can transmit the infection.
A tick is uniquely suited to carry and spread Lyme disease. Spirochetes have co-evolved with ticks over millions of years. Tick saliva contains immune suppressors that help disseminate the bacteria throughout the hosts body. And, because ticks feed on many different animals, they can spread the disease widely.
Should I Be Tested For Lyme Disease After A Tick Bite
Lyme testing relies on detecting antibodies the bodys reaction to the germ not the germ itself. It takes time for the body to make antibodies, at least a couple of weeks after you have become infected. Someone with symptoms of very early Lyme disease is likely to have a negative Lyme antibody test. On the other hand, false positive Lyme tests can happen, so someone without symptoms of Lyme disease who tests positive is unlikely to really have the disease. Testing for Lyme disease shortly after a tick bite is not helpful, says Dr. Baer and may lead to a prescription for a medication that you just dont need.
Don’t Miss: Is Joint Pain A Symptom Of Lyme Disease
Wood Tick Lyme Disease
Lyme disease do not have or notice any rash and instead just have flu-like symptoms of fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. Not all rashes that occur at the site of a tick bite are due to Lyme disease. An allergic reaction to tick saliva can also occur and be confused with an erythema migrans rash. Allergic reactions to
What Precautions Can I Take Against Tick Bites
- Avoid wooded, brushy, and grassy areas, especially in May, June, and July.
- Wear light-colored clothing so that you can see ticks that get on you.
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and shoes that cover the entire foot.
- Tuck pant legs into socks or shoes, and tuck shirts into pants.
- Wear a hat for extra protection.
- Spray insect repellent containing DEET on clothes and uncovered skin.
- Walk in the center of trails to avoid brush and grass.
- Remove your clothing, and wash and dry them at high temperatures after being outdoors.
- Do a careful body check for ticks after outdoor activities.
Recommended Reading: Do All Deer Ticks Have Lyme Disease
How Do Ticks Transmit Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is transmitted via the bite of infected ticks, which attach to any part of the body, but often to moist or hairy areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. While everyone is susceptible to tick bites, campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and other leafy outdoor venues are at the greatest risk of tick bites.
Ticks Carrying Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii.It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left.
Recommended Reading: Chance Of Lyme Disease From Deer Tick
Preventing And Treating Tick Bites
There are a number of precautions that can be taken in order reduce the chances of a tick attaching, feeding and potentially transmitting an infection. When questing, ticks are most likely to be found in wooded and bushy areas, with high grass and leaf litter, so either avoid or be cautious in these types of environment.
Clothing can provide some protection from ticks. Wearing long-sleeved tops can protect the arms, and tucking pant legs into socks and boots can prevent ticks from having easy access to legs. Repellents are also available that can be applied to both skin and clothing. Those containing 20-30% DEET offer several hours of protection.
After being out in an environment that could be home to ticks, it is recommended that you conduct a full-body tick check, especially as it is hard to notice them without actively searching.
As stated before, prompt removal of ticks is crucial to reducing the risk of infection. Although specialized tick removal devices are available, a regular pair of fine-tipped tweezers is more than adequate.
Using the tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible. With steady, even pressure, pull upwards. Twisting and jerking the tick can cause some of its mouth-parts to remain embedded in the skin. If this occurs, carefully attempt to remove the remaining parts with the tweezers.
So If Youre Bitten By An Infected Tick Are You Infected Immediately
Probably not. What happens is that the tick bites you and then it takes some time for the tick to get engorged with blood, Lewis says. At some point after that, the Borrelia Burgdorferi is released with tick saliva. It takes hours. It doesnt happen immediately.
So you dont have to check yourself constantly for ticks.
Don’t Miss: Unusual Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease: Symptoms And Stages
Symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease include:
- muscle and joint aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Another common symptom of Lyme disease is a rash . As many as 80% of infected people may develop a rash, and roughly 20% of the time the rash has a characteristic bull’s-eye appearance.
When left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Later-stage symptoms may not appear until weeks or months after a tick bite occurs. They include:
- heart-rhythm irregularities
- nervous system abnormalities
Permanent damage to the joints or the nervous system can develop in patients with late Lyme disease. It is rarely, if ever, fatal.
Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia too.
Don’t Miss: Is There A Human Vaccine For Lyme Disease
‘ticks Are Always Surprising Us’
Salkeld said his research sought to provide an overview of Western black-legged tick populations in Northern California and whether they are infected with bacteria that cause Lyme disease and other illnesses.
They started by looking in typical places ticks are found — oak woodlands and redwood forests — then branched out to coastal areas.
The big surprise: Researchers found ticks almost everywhere they looked, Salkeld said. This was unexpected because Western gray squirrels, believed to be the regionâs predominant source of infection for ticks, are not common in coastal areas. Now, Salkeldâs team is conducting additional studies to identify other tick carriers.
âWe’ve found ticks infected with bacteria in woodland, redwood forest, coastal scrub … Now we’re really interested in understanding what animals might be the reservoir — the host that actually infects the ticks — for the disease in these other habitats,â he said. âI have uneducated guesses: Perhaps mice, wood rats, rabbits, voles.â
Salkeldâs study, funded by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, did not find ticks on sandy beaches themselves, but in the brush, grasses, and vegetation that grow nearby.
The findings, in the June issue of the peer-reviewed journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, point to the need for greater awareness of the risks of tick-borne diseases among beachgoers, outdoor enthusiasts, and health care professionals, he said.
How Do You Prevent A Tick Bite In The First Place
Ticks can get onto humans when they brush up against tall grasses, bushes, trees, or leaves. One way to avoid them is to walk in the center of trails when outside.
You can also treat your clothing with a tick-repelling chemical called permethrin. There are several products on the market, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest using something with a 0.5% concentration of permethrin or building pre-treated clothing and gear.
There are also insect repellents that protect against ticks, such as those containing DEET, picaridin, and other compounds. The Environmental Protection Agency has a search tool that helps users identify what product is best for their needs.
Once you go back indoors, a thorough check of your body, clothing, gear, and pets is a key part of catching ticks before they have a chance to latch on and pass on any bacteria. The CDC recommends taking a shower within two hours of going indoors and checking your entire body for the creepy crawlies, particularly in the crevices, folds, and where hair grows on your body.
If you find a tick attached to yourself, carefully remove it with fine-tipped tweezers. You want to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible, gently pulling with steady, even pressure so that you take the entire tickincluding its mouthpartsoff your body. You can dispose of the tick by putting it in alcohol, wrapping it in tape, or putting it in some otherwise completely sealed bag or container.
Recommended Reading: When To Test For Lyme Disease
Can You Get Lyme Disease In The Winter
The black-legged tick, as mentioned above, is the most likely spreader of Lyme disease in the United States. While black-legged ticks are far more active in the spring and summer months, their typical season begins in late March and goes through to November. That being said, if the weather permits their continued survival, they can be active for much longer well into the winter.
Because of this, contracting Lyme disease in the winter is entirely possible, even if it is less likely. Ticks dont do their best hunting during the winter, so there is less of a chance that an infected tick will latch on to you. This isnt to say that you should let your guard down during the winter months when spending time outdoors, though. You should continue to take precautionary measures during the winter months to ensure you arent infected by a Lyme-carrying tick.
Ticks that carry Lyme disease can be a threat all year round, especially if temperatures in your area dont drop below freezing during the winter months. Since Lyme disease is a threat whenever those ticks are active, its best to keep up with safety precautions to ensure you dont contract an infection at any point throughout the year.