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How To Remove A Tick And Treat A Tick Bite

Lyme Disease Prophylaxis After Tick Bite

First, dont panic. If you find one attached to your skin, remove the tick as quickly as possible using a set of fine-tipped tweezers. Grab the tick as closely to the surface of your skin as possible, and pull upward with steady, even pressure. If mouth-parts are left in the skin, try your best to remove them, but if not just let your skin heal normally, says the CDC. Then, make sure to clean the bite area with soap and water or alcohol.

Dispose of the tick in a sealed bag or container, wrapped up tightly in tape, or by flushing it down the toilet, says the CDC. Never crush it with your fingers, and of course, in the weeks to follow you should keep an eye out for any lingering symptoms, like a rash. See your doctor if you experience flu-like symptoms, such as achy muscles, fever, swollen lymph nodes, or other unusual reactions that dont feel normal

Ticks can be tiny and they can be easily missed, so its important to do thorough body check after youve spent time outdoors. Be sure to look carefully under your arms, around your ears, inside your belly button, behind your knees, between your legs, and in your hair. Checking yourself, kids, and pets can go a long way in minimizing contact with these critters, says Dill.

And as always, stock up on the best tick repellents before your next outdoor adventure.

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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 Are The First Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

In the first early localized stage of Lyme disease the skin at the site of the tick bite becomes infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria which can cause an expanding round or oval red skin lesion called erythema migrans. This may or may not be associated with flu-like symptoms within days to a month after the tick bite such as achiness, chills, fever, sweats, fatigue, malaise, headache, stiff neck, muscle soreness, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat. The combination of the skin lesion and flu-like symptoms are the primary manifestations of acute stage Lyme disease. Acute Lyme disease is not associated with typical cold-like symptoms of runny nose, prominent cough, or prominent diarrhea.

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When To See A Doctor

Anyone who develops a rash or fever in the weeks following a tick bite should contact their doctor.

It can help to make notes about the bite, such as when it occurred and any symptoms that appeared after the bite. Taking pictures of the bite or the tick itself may also assist a doctor with diagnosis.

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Live in RI, worried about lyme disease after getting bit by something ...

Thank-you, Thank-you, for the informative and quick response to my email! Very much appreciated. I have told others about your excellent program, and I will be making a donation to help your research. Keep up the good work. George, ME

Thanks so much for identifying the tick and responding so quickly to our email. You do a great service for all of us in trying to keep us safe and healthy. -Roger & Lou, NC

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How To Safely Remove A Tick

  • Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skins surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Dont twist or jerk the tick. Your goal is to remove the entire tick, ideally in one piece, including the mouth parts embedded under the skin.
  • Thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  • Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, and some ticks carry other diseases. To avoid infecting yourself, never crush a tick with your fingers. For more information on the safe removal, disposal and identification of ticks visit CDC.gov/ticks.

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    How To Treat A Tick Bite After Removal

    Once the tick is removed, the CDC recommends cleaning the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. This keeps the area clean and prevents bacteria or other irritants from spreading to other areas of your skin, says board-certified dermatologist Ife J. Rodney, M.D., founding director of Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics in Fulton, MD. Youll also want to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward.

    Then, Dr. Rodney says that it would help if you covered the tick bite with a light bandage to protect the area from dirt and bacteria.

    You shouldnt panic if it ends up looking like a mosquito bite for a few days afterward. But if the bite becomes further inflamed or crusted, applying an antibiotic cream may be helpful toward lowering the risk of infection and tamping down lingering inflammation, says board-certified dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

    The bite can take up to two weeks to heal. While youre tending to the area, the CDC specifically recommends looking out for symptoms of tickborne illness, like Lyme disease, for the next 30 days. Those can include but are not limited to:

    • Rash extending beyond the bite
    • Fever
    • Joint swelling and pain

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    When To See A Doctor For A Tick Bite

    There are two potential things youll want to look out for: a full-on infection of the actual tick bite and signs of tickborne illness.

    An infected tick bite will cause discharge, swelling, and pain, Dr. Goldenberg says, and it may be growing in size. If you suspect that your tick bite is infected, youll want to contact your dermatologist or primary care doctor about treating the bite itself.

    If you get some flu-like symptoms such as body aches, fatigue, fever, and chills, this could be an indication that you may have been infected by the bacteria that causes Lyme disease , Dr. Rodney says, noting that this also warrants a trip to your doctor immediately.

    From there, they will ask more specific questions about your symptoms and tick exposure history, and give you a blood test to ensure a proper diagnosis. Luckily, most tickborne illnesses can be treated with a short course of antibiotics.

    What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    Fight the Bite: Ticks and Lyme disease

    Lyme disease can affect different body systems, such as the nervous system, joints, skin, and heart. The symptoms of Lyme disease are often described as happening in three stages. Not everyone with Lyme has all of these, though:

  • A circular rash at the site of the tick bite, typically within 12 weeks of infection, often is the first sign of infection. Its considered typical of Lyme disease, but many people never get one.

    The rash sometimes has a bulls-eye appearance, with a central red spot surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. It also can appear as an growing ring of solid redness. Its usually flat and painless, but sometimes can be warm to the touch, itchy, scaly, burning, or prickling. The rash may look and feel very different from one person to the next. It can be harder to see on people with darker skin tones, where it can look like a bruise. It gets bigger for a few days to weeks, then goes away on its own. A person also may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headache, and muscle aches.

  • The last stage of Lyme disease happens if the early stages werent found or treated. Symptoms can begin anytime from weeks to years after an infectious tick bite. In kids and teens, this is almost always in the form of arthritis, with swelling and tenderness, particularly in the knees or other large joints.
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    Stage : Changing Skin

    In stage 3, few signs of Lyme disease appear on the skin. Most problems occur in the heart and nervous system, and these can be serious.

    Where you see signs on your skin: If you were in Europe when bit by a tick, you may see changes to your skin in this late stage. These changes usually appear on a hand or foot. Some people develop this change on both of their hands or feet. It can also occur on a knee, elbow, or elsewhere.

    What the skin looks like: The skin begins to swell, and you may notice some redness. These signs are caused by having a bacterial infection for a long time. The affected skin may also feel sore.

    In time, the skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form. If you have hair in the area, it tends to fall out. The sweat glands can die, and the skin often becomes so thin that it tears easily. The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitischronical atrophicans.

    In stage 3, you may also see tumors on your skin. It is believed that the long-term infection and swelling in the lymph nodes can lead to a cancer known as cutaneous B-cell lymphoma.

    Skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form

    The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitis chronical atrophicans. Swelling, hardened skin, and deep lines on the foot of someone who has had Lyme disease for years.

    When you see signs of changing skin and symptoms: These tend to occur months or years after you are bitten by a tick.

    • Arthritis

    How Do I Remove A Tick

    You should know how to remove a tick just in case one lands on you or a friend. To be safe, remove the tick as soon as possible.

    If you find a tick:

    • Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to your skin.
    • Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go of the skin. If part of the tick stays in your skin, dont worry. It will eventually come out. But call your doctor if you notice any irritation in the area or symptoms of Lyme disease.
    • Swab the bite site with alcohol.

    Note: Dont use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They wont get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.

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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 can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.

    Theyre common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.

    Ticks dont jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something theyre on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.

    Generally, youre 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.

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    How To Check For Ticks And Bites

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    Ticks will hide in areas of the body that are less visible, such as in hair, along the hairline and in the armpits. Since young ticks can be very small, about the size of a poppy seed, theyre not always easy to see. But since they have a hard shell, you may be able to feel them.

    A young tick can be the size of a poppy seed while an engorged tick can be the size of a raisin.

    When checking for ticks, slowly run your hands along your childs skin and through their hair. If you feel a bump, inspect it further.

    If you find a tick on your child that hasnt latched onto the skin, there arent health risks.

    If you find a tick on your child that has latched on, follow these steps to remove the tick .

    • Remove the tick carefully with tweezers by grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible.
    • Pull it straight out, gently but firmly.
    • After removing, wash the skin with soap and water.

    If its an American dog tick, theres no risk of Lyme disease. If its a blacklegged tick thats been latched on for less than 24 hours, the risk of transmission of Lyme disease is extremely unlikely.

    The longer a tick is latched on, the larger it will get. If you find a tick on your child thats noticeably bigger and youre unsure which type of tick it is, remove the tick and take it and your child to your family doctor.

    Only if your child starts experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease should you take them to a hospital or urgent care centre.

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    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

    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:

    • Joints
    • Heart
    • Nervous system

    You could also have more rashes and periods of pain and weakness in your arms or legs. Other symptoms include:

    • Facial muscle paralysis
    • Headache
    • Inflamed brain and spinal cord

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    How Can I Prevent Tick Bites Altogether

    If your yard is on the wild side or youve got plans to go hiking, camping, or walking through the forest or mountains, youre in prime tick territory, per the CDC, and you’ll find ticks in highly wooded, humid areas like forests and trails. Headed somewhere you know might be tick-heavy? Spray your clothing, shoes, and camping gear with insecticides that contain 0.5 percent permethrin, Thomas Mather, PhD, director of the Center for Vector-Borne Disease at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, tells Women’s Health.

    You should also try wearing colorful clothing , long-sleeves, and full-length pants, being sure to tuck your hanging sleeves into your gloves and shoes. Reapply your tick repellent throughout your day, and do careful tick checks after you’ve been outside for a significant amount of time. You can also keep tabs on local tick activity in your area by contacting your states health department .

    Protect Your Clothing And Gear With Permethrin

    The Most Common Indication of Lyme Disease After a Tick Bite

    Another way to tick-proof your body is to treat your clothing and gear with permethrin, a type of insecticide. In one recent study from the CDC, researchers exposed various permethrin-treated clothing samples to types of ticks, including blacklegged ticks , which carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The researchers found that young ticks died in less than a minute after coming in contact with the materialand those that didnt werent able to move properly.

    The use of permethrin-based sprays is intended to knock ticks down and kill them, not solely as a repellent, says Gangloff-Kaufmann.

    Your best bet? Buy a permethrin-based solution and treat your hats, shoes, jackets, and camping gear up to 48 hours before you need tick protection, says the CDC. Permethrin should never be applied to your skin.

    • Six weeks of repellency
    • Takes some time to dry on clothes

    Got a lot of stuff to treat? This 24-ounce permethrin insect repellent from Bens has got you covered, with enough repellent to coat four complete outfits or two sets of gear. It bonds to your fabric fibers and keeps ticks away for up to six weeks.

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    Signs Of Lyme Disease That Appear On Your Skin

    Signs of Lyme disease

    If you see a rash or another sign of Lyme disease on your skin, see your primary doctor right away. When caught early and treated, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics and most people recover fully.

    Lyme disease is caused by a bite from a black-legged tick. If you are bitten by this tick and develop Lyme disease, you may see a bulls-eye rash. Its a common sign of Lyme disease, but its not the only sign.

    Lyme disease occurs in stages. Heres what you may see on your skin during each stage.

    What Are Signs And Symptoms Of The Third Stage Of Lyme Disease

    Late stage Lyme disease can result when treatment is unsuccessful or started too late due to unrecognized symptoms or misdiagnosis. The late disseminated stage occurs months or years after initial infection and can have a major impact on a patients health and quality of life. Late Lyme arthritis is a third stage Lyme disease manifestation that involves fluid accumulation and pain in joints, particularly in the knee joints. Late neurologic disease is a 3rd stage condition that can also be debilitating and difficult to diagnose. Late disseminated Lyme disease symptoms include a variety of symptoms that are often neurologic in origin including: numbness in extremities, mental fogginess and concentration problems, and difficulty following conversations or processing information.

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