When To Contact Your Doctor
See your doctor as soon as possible to find out if any treatment is necessary, based on the type of tick that bit you. Different parts of the country have different risks when it comes to diseases from tick bites.
If any of the following become noticeable in the weeks following a tick bite, seek consultation with a healthcare professional:
- You develop EM rashes.
- You have fever, drowsiness, aching muscles, or a headache within 6 weeks of a tick bite.
- A tick bit you in a geographical location known for severe tick-borne diseases, like the Western or Northeastern United States.
Its important to see your doctor as soon as you can after a tick bite, even if you dont have symptoms.
For example, in areas of the country where Lyme disease is common, doctors may recommend under certain conditions that you receive treatment for Lyme disease after a tick bite before symptoms start.
People who suspect they may have Rocky Mountain spotted fever should seek treatment as soon as they suspect it.
Your doctor can explain your risks, what complications to look for, and when to follow up. Your doctor will also complete a thorough history, exam, and testing to determine whether your symptoms are the result of a tick-borne disease.
- , which is also available online.
- Take a shower or bath within two hours of being outdoors.
- Check skin closely after being in tick-prone areas, especially under arms, behind ears, between legs, behind knees, and in hair.
What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and theres not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
How Can You Tell A Tick Bite From A Spider Bite
Its important to point this out, per Gary Goldenberg, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City: Spider bites are rare. Meaning, if youve been bitten by something, odds are higher that it was a mosquito or tick vs. a spider.
That said, a spider bite has a certain look. Spider bites are more distinct and leave two equally spaced dots, Dr. Rodney says. These bites also tend to be more round and have some redness and irritation. And, since there are different types of spiders out there, the bites can look slightly different.
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Can Lyme Disease Completely Be Cured
Taking oral antibiotics typically cures Lyme disease after two to four weeks. You may need to get antibiotics through the vein for four more weeks. However, theres no reason to think that Lyme disease stays in you forever after treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If youre going to spend time in an area that might have ticks, take measures to avoid being bitten. This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to make it harder for ticks to bite. If you feel sick after being in an area that probably has ticks, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. If your provider prescribes antibiotics, make sure you take all of them as instructed.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/16/2022.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
What Diseases Can The Ticks Found In Maine Carry
- The deer tick , also known as the black-legged tick, is the primary vector of Lyme disease,, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Borreliamiyamotoi . Deer ticks are also a vector for Powassan virus,, a potentially deadly form of encephalitis.
- American dog ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Ticks in Maine are not known to carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever or tularemia.
- The woodchuck tick can transmit Powassan virus.,
- The lone star tick can transmit Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii , tularemia, and STARI. The lone star ticks are moving north and are not fully established in Maine.
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What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.
There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.
The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.
If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.
What Does A Lyme Disease Rash Really Look Like These Pictures Explain It
You know the classic bulls-eye rashbut Lyme causes other types, like these.
A telling sign of Lyme disease is a red, circular or oval rash that expands over time like a bulls-eye. Doctors call it erythema migrans. But if youre looking for a bulls-eye pattern and ignoring other types of skin rashes and lesions, youre probably missing an important clue to your diagnosis. Surprise, surprise: relatively few Lyme rashes mimic the concentric circles of a dart board.
The classic target pattern represents just 20% of Lyme-related skin lesions in North America, notes John Aucott, MD, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center.
Eighty percent dont look like that, and they constantly get misdiagnosed as spider or bug bites, he tells Health.
The fact is that Lyme disease rash can present itself in different ways, according to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation. How it appears on your body may depend, in part, on how long youve had it and where it shows up on your body.
Generally, erythema migrans is circular, because it spreads centrifugally from the point of the tick bite, says Dr. Aucott. But it can be more oval or elongated in shape if, for instance, the tick took its blood meal in the groove of your groin.
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What Are The Treatments For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you are treated, the better it gives you the best chance of fully recovering quickly.
After treatment, some patients may still have pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that lasts more than 6 months. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . Researchers dont know why some people have PTLDS. There is no proven treatment for PTLDS long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PTLDS. If you have been treated for Lyme disease and still feel unwell, contact your health care provider about how to manage your symptoms. Most people do get better with time. But it can take several months before you feel all better.
Lyme Disease Nymph Tick
The Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, is spread through the bite of infected ticks.The blacklegged tick spreads the disease in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States.The western blacklegged tick spreads the disease on the Pacific Coast.Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in .
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How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
Symptoms: As The Infection Spreads
If the disease goes untreated in its early stages, over several weeks or months it can spread to other areas of the body like your:
You could also have more rashes and periods of pain and weakness in your arms or legs. Other symptoms include:
- Facial muscle paralysis
- Inflamed brain and spinal cord
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The Following Are The Most Common Misunderstood Facts About Tick Bites:
What Do I Do If I Find A Tick On My Skin
Dont panic. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible. Pull up with steady, even pressure. Be careful not to squeeze or twist the tick body. Sometimes parts of the tick remain in the skin. You can leave them alone or carefully remove them the same way you would a splinter. Do not use heat , petroleum jelly, or other methods to try to make the tick back out on its own. These methods are not effective.
Wash the area where the tick was attached thoroughly with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area for a few weeks and note any changes. Call your doctor if you develop a rash around the area where the tick was attached. Be sure to tell your doctor that you were bitten by a tick and when it happened.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
People aren’t able to become immune to Lyme disease. So even if you’ve had Lyme disease, you can get it again. No vaccine is available currently to prevent the disease.
The FDA approved a Lyme vaccine called LYMErix in 1998. The vaccine was not 100% effective, however. The FDA still recommended preventing the disease in other ways. In 2002, the company that made LYMErix said it would no longer offer the vaccine.
To help prevent Lyme disease, follow these guidelines.
What Does A Tick Bite Look Like Exactly
The signs of a tick bite actually vary from person to person, since everyones immune system reacts differently to them, explains Thomas Mather, Ph.D., director of the University of Rhode Islands Center for Vector-Borne Disease and Tick Encounter Resource Center. While someone may have a small, red bump after the tick detaches, others may develop an area of redness and itchiness.
Your best bet is to find the tick while its still on your skin. Ticks are designed to linger when they attach and bite, says Mather. The mouth of a tick contains a bunch of backward-pointing barbs that they use to stay put, meaning they are designed to lock and load, as Mather puts it. The biters also secrete a cement-like substance around their mouths to keep them stuck even if they were to be, say, absentmindedly scratched at.
Depending on where the tick is in its lifecyclelarva , nymph , or adult stage it can stick around anywhere from three to six days, Mather says. The longer theyre feeding, the bigger they getand the greater the risk of transmitting disease.
CREDIT: KitAy /
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How Can You Tell A Tick Bite From A Mosquito Bite
Obviously, ticks arent the only bugs that can bite you and leave a mark. Tick bites are difficult to detect compared to mosquito bites since the reaction from a bite can vary from person to person, says board-certified dermatologist Ife J. Rodney, M.D.1, founding director of Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics.
Tick bites may have a tiny, deep red circle with a lighter red patch around the edges, Dr. Rodney says. And, she points out, ticks can remain on the skin and site, making it easy to tell if you have a tick bite.
But, if the bug has left the premises, Dr. Rodney says that these are signs youre dealing with a mosquito bite:
- It looks red or white
- It has a raised bump or a dark spot that looks like a bruise
Another thing to keep in mind, per Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital: Mosquitoes tend to bite more than once or bite in groups. Mosquito bites often are multiple, while a tick bite usually is a single lesion, he says.
How To Choose The Best Tick Repellents
Experts recommend first looking for ingredients recommended by the EPA for bug repellentsthose are listed above. From there, you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
The most effective tick repellents contain DEET and that is what I recommend, says Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. But, he points out, DEET isnt for everyone. If someones skin gets irritated with DEET, they can try lower DEET concentrations or some alternatives, he says.
Thomas Russo, M.D., professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York, also recommends DEET and picaridin. Theres the most data with those, he says. Dr. Russo also suggests looking for formulations that are made up of 20% to 30% of these ingredients for everyday use. You definitely dont want less or more than that, he says. This will give you about eight hours of protection.
Whatever you choose, Dr. Russo stresses the importance of wearing repellent when you venture into areas where ticks live. This is increasingly important, he says. Tick ranges are expanding and the diseases they can spread are significant. People really need to protect themselves.
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Preventing Tick Bites And Lyme Disease
There are several easy ways to protect yourself from an encounter with Lyme-transmitting ticks:
- Steer clear of areas that are known to have an infestation of ticksâlike tall grasses and leaf piles.
- If hiking in the outdoors, stay in the center of the trail.
- Wear protective clothing, like long-sleeve shirts, pants tucked into your socks, and appropriate shoes.
- Remove and inspect your clothing before and after moving through a high-risk area and examine yourself for ticks.
How Are Tick Bites Treated
The most important thing to do when you find a tick is to remove it. This may help stave off a tick-borne illness. Dont remove it if you have an allergic reaction, this may release more of the allergen and cause a worsening reaction.
Make sure to clean the area thoroughly with antibacterial cleanser or ointment after the tick has been removed. Your doctor may wish to send the tick to a laboratory to analyze what type it is, and to determine if it is carrying any pathogens.
Place the tick into a lidded jar or sealed ziplock bag and bring it with you to your doctors appointment.
Treatment will depend on whether youre experiencing an allergic reaction to the tick bite, or have a tick-borne disease.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Deer ticks infected with the Lyme disease bacteria can spread it to your blood after being attached to you for about 24 to 36 hours.
The early symptoms of Lyme disease occur anywhere from about three days to one month after an infected deer tick bite. It usually manifests as flu-like symptoms, which include:
- A red rash that may be warm, itchy, or painful, which can get bigger over time up to 12 inches across and might resemble a bull’s-eye
Brown Dog Ticks And Pet Diseases
This type of dog tick is found nearly everywhere in the United States. It likes dogs of every variety but rarely bites people. Adult brown dog ticks are about the size and color of the deer tick. The bites of brown dog ticks can be extremely dangerous to your pet: They can cause diseases like canine ehrlichiosis and bartonellosis , and babesiosis . Symptoms of a tick-borne disease in your dog may include fever, depression, weight loss, and lameness, according to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. Talk to your vet about the warning signs of tick-borne infections.
Brown dog ticks can live in your house and in your dogs kennel. If your dog has been outside in a kennel or the backyard, check often and thoroughly for ticks. Brown dog ticks hide, so make sure to look under rugs, behind draperies, under radiators, and in cracks if you think you have an infestation. The best way to get rid of them is to hire an exterminator. Remove them in the same way you would from a person: Use fine-tipped tweezers and grab the tick as close to its mouth as you can. Be sure to dispose of the tick, and wash the bite and your hands well.
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