If The Tick Is Still Attached
Finding a tick on your skin can be quite difficult, Ostfeld says especially during the spring and early-summer months when ticks are in their nymph stage, and so are roughly the size of a poppy seed. You have to closely examine your skin and have a loved one scan the places you cant see in order to spot them. While adult ticks are a little larger, theyre still difficult to identify.
Running your hands over those parts of your body ticks tend to bite is another way to find them before theyve dropped off.
Is There A Time Of The Year When Lyme Disease Is Most Likely
Lyme is most common during late spring and summer when the nymphal ticks are more predominant, these ticks are so tiny that they are easier to miss than the adult-sized ticks . Adult ticks can still transmit Lyme disease but they are easier to spot so they are usually noticed and removed more quickly. It is adult ticks that are responsible for the occurrence of Lyme disease during the fall and early winter.
When Should I Go See My Doctor
Anyone who has been bitten by a black-legged deer tick is at risk for Lyme disease. The highest risk groups include those living in or visiting endemic areas, especially people who spend significant time outdoors such as gardeners, hikers, or outdoor workers.
Patients should seek advice from their doctor if they have a suspicious round expanding red skin lesion, and/or show signs of summer-flu, particularly during Lyme disease season, which is highest-risk late spring through July/August. If those circumstances apply or symptoms persist it is very important to go to a physician.
For the west coast and other more temperate regions Lyme disease can be a year-round concern.
In the later disseminated stages, Lyme disease can be a much more insidious and complex illness. An individual should seek medical care if experiencing symptoms such as prolonged fevers, unexplained fatigue, painful joints, new or unusual headache, or heart or neurologic symptoms. If unexplained viral-like symptoms last for more than 1-2 weeks, please seek the advice of a physician.
Also Check: Does Every Deer Tick Carry Lyme Disease
How Long Has The Tick Been Attached
It can be difficult to determine how long a tick has been attached. To help with this, think about times when you may have been in an area where ticks are often found for example, in the woods in or around tall grass.
Lyme disease is rarely passed on during the first 48 hours a tick is attached. To pass on Lyme disease, the tick will typically be engorged . This means the tick has had a blood meal. Ticks need to eat to pass on Lyme disease.
Which Ticks Should I Worry About
Nymphal ticks cause most cases of Lyme disease. Because nymphs are as small as poppy seeds and their bite is painless, people often dont realize they have been bitten. Adult ticks can also infect humans, but are easier to spot and remove.
Not all ticks are infected. Because tick studies have only been done in a relatively few places, in most of the US, tick infection rates are unknown. Even in places where ticks generally do not carry Lyme, there may be hotspots of infection depending on local conditions. The tick infection rate may also change from year to year, even in one location.
To get a better idea of which tick-borne diseases have been found in your area, check this site.
Don’t Miss: Lyme Disease And Hip Pain
What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is spread to humans by tick bites. The ticks that carry the spirochete are:
Black-legged deer tick
Western black-legged tick
Ticks prefer to live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. Not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria. Depending on the location, anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of the ticks are infected with it.
While most tick bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases. Tick-borne diseases include:
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Tackling Lyme Disease: How Researchers Plan To Disarm Ticks
The treatment options for chronic Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness, are still limited. But now, researchers are pursuing a new approach: Eliminating the cause directly at the source.
Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria can trigger chronic diseases but a remedy may be in sight
Lyme disease may eventually be a thing of the past, says Kim Lewis, professor of biology and director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern University in the US city of Boston.
The reason for this optimism is the rediscovery of a chemical that is deadly to the bacterium causing the tick-borne illness but harmless to animals. But more on that in a moment.
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which lurks in small rodents such as rats or mice, as well as in deer. They do not show symptoms of the disease. Ticks serve as vectors, meaning they become infected when they feed on blood from these animals and transfer the bacteria to new hosts such as humans.
Also Check: Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome Treatment
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 there’s 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.
Seek Medical Care Early To Prevent Lyme Disease From Progressing
Its easy to get bit by a tick and not know it. Most people dont feel a tick on their skin or the bite. Checking your skin for ticks after spending time outdoors can help you find a tick and remove it.
Removing a tick can prevent Lyme disease. A tick must be attached to your skin for at least 36 hours to infect you with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
Its not always possible to find a tick, so its important to pay close attention to your skin. If you notice any signs of Lyme disease or develop a rash, get medical care right away. Ticks can cause other serious diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Related AAD resources
ImagesImage 1: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Image Library, Last accessed May 11, 2017.
Images 2, 3, and 7: Used with permission of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 64:619-36.
Image 6: Used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
ReferencesBhate C and Schwartz RA.
Lyme disease: Part I. Advances and perspectives. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 64:619-36.
Lyme disease: Part II. Management and prevention. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011 64:639-53.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Signs and symptoms of untreated Lyme disease. Page last updated October 26, 2016. Last accessed May 2, 2018.
Lyme disease: transmission. Page lasted updated March 4, 2015. Last accessed May 2, 2018.
You May Like: Lyme Literate Doctors In Ct
What Should You Do About A Tick Bite
If you experience a tick bite, the best way to remove it is by taking the following steps:
- Tug gently but firmly with blunt tweezers near the head of the tick at the level of your skin until it releases its hold on your skin.
- Avoid crushing the tick’s body or handling the tick with bare fingers as you could expose yourself to the bacteria in the tick.
- Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water.
- Do not use kerosene, petroleum jelly or hot cigarette butts to remove the tick.
- Do not squeeze the tick’s body with your fingers or tweezers.
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.
You May Like: Cat’s Claw And Lyme Disease
How To Know If A Tick Has Lyme Disease Dog
How to know if a tick has lyme disease dogHow to know if a tick has lyme disease dogHere are five things for pet owners to know about helping protect dogs from Lyme disease.Ticks carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi , the bacterial agent that causes Lyme disease, is one of the most common infections transmitted by ticks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and.
Who Gets Lyme Disease And At What Time Of Year
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. As many a suburban gardener can attest, with the expansion of the suburbs and a push to conserve wooded areas, deer and mice populations are thriving, too, providing ample blood meals for ticks. For lyme disease to be transmitted, a tick needs to feed on the host for 24-48 hours.
In the majority of cases, tick bites are reported in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But this can extend into the warmer months of early autumn, too, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. Similarly, a mild winter can allow ticks, much like other insects, to thrive and emerge earlier than usual.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Antibiotic To Treat Lyme Disease
How Do I Watch For Lyme Disease After Removing A Tick
I found a tick on my daughter’s arm last night. I pulled it off, but I have no idea how long it had been there, as she plays outside every day. What should I do? How do I tell if the tick gave her Lyme disease? â
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted primarily by deer ticks. In the United States, Lyme disease is most common in the Northeast, Northwest, and parts of the upper Midwest. So where you live and what type of tick you find will help determine if your child is at risk of developing Lyme disease.
Not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. And a tick that is infected has to be attached to a person’s skin for at least 24-48 hours before it can transmit that bacteria. Since you don’t know how long the tick was attached, watch for signs that your daughter might be developing the illness.
Many kids who have Lyme disease develop a red rash at the site of the tick bite, which sometimes has a characteristic “bull’s-eye” appearance. In the week or two after the tick bite, look for an expanding ring of solid redness or a red bump surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. The rash may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle and joint aches.
Tick Bites That Can Make You Sick
Despite the prevalence of ticks and the exposure theyve garnered in the news, many people are still in the dark about tick-borne diseases. The CDC reports that a national survey shows that 20 percent of people living in an area where Lyme disease is common were not aware of the risks. And those risks are substantial. Somewhere between 20% and 40% of blacklegged ticks carry Lyme, says Richard Ostfeld, PhD, a distinguished senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York.
Heres a primer on the best ways to avoid ticks, how to identify their bites, and what to do about a bite if one is discovered.
Recommended Reading: Amoxicillin Vs Doxycycline For Lyme
How Can I Avoid Getting Bitten By A Tick Or Contracting Lyme
Ticks can thrive in a variety of environments. Ticks are found in thickets and coastal areas, or in low grasses and herbaceous vegetation, Ostfeld says. But theyre predominantly forest creatures. Grassy, bushy, and especially heavily wooded areas are all prime real estate for ticks. Staying away from those environments is your best defense, he says.
But if you do venture into such areas, wear long pants and boots, and take them off as soon as you get home. Ostfeld recommends throwing any clothing you were wearing into the dryer turned to high heat as soon as possible. Ticks love humidity, and theyve been shown to survive washing and drying. But toss your clothes in the dryer without wetting them, and the dry, hot conditions should kill them off, he says.
You can also use DEET and other bug repellents to effectively keep ticks away, he says. A chemical called permethrin is available as a spray and when applied to your boots or hiking pants, will kill ticks on contact.
What Is The Treatment For Lyme Disease
Patients treated with antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover quickly and completely. Antibiotics commonly used for treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurologic or cardiac forms of illness may require additional treatment. It is important to speak with your health care provider if you think you might have Lyme disease. The best treatment for Lyme disease is prevention and awareness.
Recommended Reading: Lyme Disease Swollen Lymph Nodes
Testing Testing Can You Find Me
Tests for Lyme disease focus on measuring a patients antibodies, rather than the bacteria itself, in a process known as serologic testing. The US Centers for Disease Control require two-tiered testing to establish a Lyme disease diagnosis, and both tiers need to come back positive for a diagnosis to be confirmed.
Due to the complexity of the process, there are significant ambiguities in testing best practice across the medical system. Writing in The Atlantic, Meghan ORourke describes how her doctor sent her bloods to three labs, two of which gave a positive reading on one part of the test but not the other, and the third of which came back negative on both parts. ORourke was informed she probably had Lyme disease, despite not meeting CDC guidelines for a Lyme diagnosis.
Chronic Lyme thus becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Any ache or ailment could be a symptom and blood test results can be interpreted as indicative of Lyme disease against official guidelines, or even confirm the presence of the disease when it isnt there.
Bite prevention expert Howard Carter says: Antibodies to Lyme disease take a few weeks to form if you have an early test and youve got a puncture mark or have removed the tick yourself you can get a false re-assurance, so you really need to wait for six weeks before requesting a blood test.
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 don’t 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.
Also Check: Does Medicare Cover Lyme Disease Treatment
How Can I Prevent Getting A Tick Bite
Good ways to prevent tick bites are to wear shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants when outside, especially in brushy areas and areas that border forests. Tucking your pants into your socks and wearing high boots can also help. It is easier to see ticks on light-colored clothing, so that is another useful approach. Applying bug spray to your clothing can repel ticks. After being outdoors it is important to do a thorough tick check of yourself and your children. Ticks tend to like dark, moist areas on the body so pay particular attention to the armpits, groin, hairline, scalp, backs of the knees, and waistline. If you have pets, using a topical product to prevent ticks on your dogs and cats will also help to ensure that your animals are not bringing ticks into your home.
What Are The Symptoms That A Tick Bite Might Cause
Many of the conditions caused by ticks have common symptoms that include:
- Itchiness or irritation, but usually not right away.
- Skin rash.
Some rashes caused by ticks indicate the infection. Small reddish or purplish spots happen in Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Expanding rashes that may look like a bulls-eye are the erythema migrans signal of Lyme disease. A similar rash happens with southern tick-associated rash illness or STARI. STARIs rash may be known as the Lone Star tick rash.
Some rashes can just look like small red or darker-colored blotches that can be difficult to see.
Recommended Reading: First Symptoms Of Lyme Disease