Where Do Ticks Bite
You can find a tick bite anywhere. However, although they can and do attach to any part of the body, there are certain body parts they more commonly move toward, like the hairline, or in tucked-away places, like the armpits, groin, and behind knees, says Dill. Thats because ticks have heat sensors that allow them to seek out warmer, moist places. Recently, doctors even discovered a tick attached to a 9-year-old boys eardrum.
Are Tick Bites Itchy Do They Hurt
Generally, tick bites do not hurt. You might feel a bitebut you may have no idea when it happens either. Both are possible. Early in the process of biting, ticks inject a pain mediator via their saliva, says Mather. Because its more likely that subsequent bites will elicit a reaction, the first bite can often go unnoticed, he says. However, many people do find them itchy. If you continue to itch at a certain spot on your body, Mather encourages you to take a look to see what youre scratching at, since its one common way people find ticks.
What’s The Treatment For Later
There are a few options to treat the joint pain and swelling associated with Lyme disease. Pain-relievers and anti-inflammatories â such as ibuprofen â can help relieve symptoms. An in-office procedure called arthrocentesis can be used to withdraw fluid from swollen joints. Rarely, arthritis persists after antibiotic treatment. Some scientists believe that chronic joint inflammation can be triggered by the infection even after the successful elimination of Lyme bacteria.
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How To Remove Ticks From Your Dog
When removinga tick from a dog be sure to grasp the tick by the head and pullfirmly straight from the dog. Dispose of the tick in a clear sealedcontainer and save the tick in case it needs to be tested for Lyme orother tick borne diseases. There are inexpensive tick removal toolssuch as a TickedOff that can be used to quickly and easily remove ticks.
Is Lyme Disease Curable What Is The Prognosis Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is usually curable with antibiotics. This is so true that some authors of Lyme disease research have stated that the most common cause of lack of response of Lyme disease to antibiotic therapy is a lack of Lyme disease, to begin with! The type of antibiotic depends on the stage of the disease and what areas of the body are affected. Early illness is usually effectively treated with medications taken by mouth, for example, doxycycline , amoxicillin , or cefuroxime axetil . This antibiotic therapy generally results in a rapid cure of Lyme disease. Of note, doxycycline should not be used in pregnancy or children under 8 years of age.
Therefore, if a person finds a typical bulls-eye skin rash developing in an area of a tick bite, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Generally, antibiotic treatment resolves the rash within one or two weeks with no long-term consequences. Later illnesses such as nervous-system disease might require intravenous drugs examples are ceftriaxone and penicillin G. There are no home remedies to treat Lyme disease.
In those people with two or more episodes of erythema migrans rash, even years apart, it is felt that the episodes represent different infections or reinfection rather than persistence of the original infection.
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What Are The Complications And Risks Of A Tick Bite
Experiencing a life-threatening illness from a tick bite is pretty uncommon, but it doesn’t hurt to be informed on the possible complications and risks. As you know, certain species of ticks are capable of transmitting infections, the most troubling being tick-borne diseases, explains Keri Peterson, MD, an internal medicine physician based in New York City. “The risk of developing these infections depends on where you live, the type of tick, and how long the tick was attached to the skin,” Dr. Peterson says.
The flu-like symptoms you might feel post-tick bite can mean a number of different things about your medical situation. “The timing of these symptoms vary depending on the type of tick and length of time it was attached to the skin,” says Gina Charles, MD, a family physician based in Pennsylvania. For this reason, no matter what kind of symptoms you’re feeling, the safest bet is always to visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible post-bite to determine if you’ve contracted any of the following.
Lyme Disease Rashes And Look
Circular, expanding rash with target-like appearance.
Expanding rash with central crust
Expanding lesion with central crust on chest.
Expanding erythema migrans
Photo Credit: Reprinted from Bhate C, Schwartz RA. Lyme disease: Part I. Advances and perspectivesexternal icon. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011 64:619-36, with permission from Elsevier.
Description:Early, expanding erythema migrans with nodule.
Multiple rashes, disseminated infection
Early disseminated Lyme disease multiple lesions with dusky centers.
Red, oval plaque
Red, expanding oval-shaped plaque on trunk.
Expanding rash with central clearing
Circular, expanding rash with central clearing.
Bluish hued rash, no central clearing
Bluish hued without central clearing.
Expanding lesion, no central clearing
Expanding lesion without central clearing on back of knee.
Red-blue lesion with central clearing
Red-blue lesion with some central clearing on back of knee.
Insect bite hyper-sensitivity
Large itchy rash caused by an allergic reaction to an insect bite.
Fixed drug reaction
Description:A skin condition that occurs up to two weeks after a person takes a medication. The skin condition reappears at the same location every time a person takes that particular medication.
Description:Ringworm is a common skin infection that is caused by a fungus. Its called ringworm because it can cause a ring-shaped rash that is usually red and itchy with raised edges.
Pityriasis rosea rash
Granuloma annulare rash
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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 .
What Are Lyme Disease Causes And Risk Factors
B. burgdorferi bacteria cause Lyme disease. The bacteria have a complex life cycle, spending part of their life in the deer tick and part in some mammals such as mice and deer.
Humans are not a part of the bacterium’s life cycle but can become infected when bitten by the tick. Lyme disease is not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person.
While dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there are no reported cases of these animals spreading the disease to their owners. However, dogs and cats can bring the infected ticks into the home, which is one reason why tick protection for pets is important. Talk to a veterinarian about the right type of tick control for any pets.
Risk factors for getting Lyme disease include the following:
- Living in the northeastern or Midwestern U.S. states where the disease is most prevalent
- Being outdoors in the woods or areas that have tall grass, shrubs, or brush
- Fishing, camping, hunting, yard work, hiking, and other outdoor activities in tick-infested areas
- Having bare, unprotected skin when outdoors in high-risk areas
- Pets who are not protected against ticks may bring them indoors.
- Not removing attached ticks promptly
- Swollen lymph nodes
- General feeling of being unwell
The initial infection can occur with minimal or no signs or symptoms. But many people experience a flu-like primary illness or a characteristic rash several days to a few weeks following a tick bite. This rash may feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful.
Does A Tick Bite Always Cause A Rash
Youve probably heard of the classic bullseye rash, which is one of the most distinct symptoms of Lyme disease. This circular rash is dark in the center and expands outward, like a bullseye, appearing about a week after the bite on any part of the body. It doesnt always look like that, though.
You may have a crusty spot with a splotch of redness around it that gets bigger, bluish rashes, or a red, oval plaque, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Catch is, this rash only appears 70 to 80% of the time, says the CDC. Remember that not all ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease there are other types of rashes associated with other tick-borne illnesses. For instance, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause a red, speckled rash that appears first on wrists and ankles.
Its also important to keep in mind that rashes can be tough to distinguish from one another. The CDC has a whole page on rashes that resemble the bullseye associated with Lyme, but arent. These include large, itchy rashes, the ringworm fungus, and hives. If youre concerned about any rash or are worried you may have been bitten by a tick , call your doctor. In certain circumstances, they can prescribe a course of preventative antibiotics if Lyme disease is suspected or you live in a state with a high risk of Lyme.
The Three Stages Of Lyme Disease
The disease is medically defined in three different phases:
In the early phase of the illness , the skin around the bite develops an increasing ring of upraised redness. The rash appears on the skin in the form of a bulls-eye, where the outer ring looks bright red, with or without a central area.
The classic rash is called “erythema migrans,” which is also called erythema chronicum migrans. Most patients can’t recall the tick bitethe ticks can be very small in size, as small as the periods in this paragraph. Also, they may not have the identifying rash to signal the doctor. The rash can be very light on the skin, and most of the time, it does not itch at all.
Many patients do not develop a rash. The redness of the skin looks general, but may develop muscle pain and joint stiffness, along with swollen lymph nodes or swollen glands. It also causes mild headache and fever. The symptoms of the disease are similar to a viral fever. The infection grows more painful in two to three days and the rash on skin becomes clearly visible.
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How To Remove A Tick And Treat A 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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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
It can be hard for doctors to diagnose Lyme disease because:
- The tick bites and rash might not be noticed.
- Many early symptoms seem like the flu or other illnesses.
- Blood tests are not always accurate, especially early in the illness.
Doctors can diagnose early Lyme disease if they see a tick bite and rash. Blood tests usually aren’t helpful in the first month of Lyme disease.
To diagnose late Lyme disease, doctors:
- Ask about symptoms.
- Do blood tests that look for signs of Lyme disease.
Depending on the symptoms, doctors might order other tests, such as a spinal tap, which looks at the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.
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What If I Dont Get A Rash But Still Feel Super Sick
Since you cant always rely on a rash to clue you in, pay attention to other signs of illness you experience after possible exposure. Dr. Mudassar says that tick-borne illnesses can cause fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, muscle pain, and regional lymph node swelling in the early stages of the disease.
Dr. Schrading adds that you might simply have nonspecific viral illness symptoms, like malaise and myalgiaso it helps to consider the time of year youre feeling sick. More people are outside and around ticks in the summer, which isnt flu season, he says. So if youre feeling like you have the flu in the middle of summer, think about whether you could have been exposed to a tick. Noted.
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:
- 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
- Inflamed brain and spinal cord
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Deer Tick Bites & Disease
The deer ticklife cycle consists of four stages:
Didyou know that almost 70% of lyme disease cases are due to the little parasite during its nymph stage. If you are after lots of pictures,then take a look at our page on deertick identification for some great snaps.
Removing Deer Ticks
The bestway to remove ticks is to use a pair of tweezers or a tick twister Start by grabbing the parasite as close to the skin as possible without crushing their abdomen. Make sure that you have the head and legs and gently pull upwards.
Do not smear the parasite with Vaseline or petroleum jelly as this can encourage the parasite to regurgitate its last meal causing any possible infection to pass straight into the blood stream.It is also important that you dont crush their abdomen for the same reason.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
How old you are
Lyme disease in the earliest stage is usually treated with antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks.
Treatment will also be considered based on these and other factors:
If you are bitten by a tick that tests positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease
If you are bitten by a tick and have any of the symptoms
If you are bitten by a tick and are pregnant
If you are bitten by a tick and live in a high-risk area
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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.