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What Does A Lyme Tick Bite Look Like

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Stage 2 And 3 Lyme Rashes

What to Do After a Tick Bite – Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center

During stages 2 and 3 of Lyme disease, rashes may also be present. During stage 2, the rash will take roughly one to six months to appear. It will be markedly different from stage 1 and appear as small oval-shaped rashes, typically appearing on various parts of the body such as the face, legs, and arms. The center of a stage 2 Lyme disease rash may also be darker in the center or appear bluish with a clear center. In contrast with stage 1 rashes, stage 2 skin lesions are not likely to grow as the disease progresses.

Stage 3 Lyme disease does not often encompass rashes however, if skin changes do occur, they will typically appear on the hands and feet. Symptoms of skin changes in stage 3 Lyme disease can include pain, redness, and swelling. If the infection is severe, stage 3 will present with some skin symptoms such as:

  • Hardening, thinning, or tearing of the skin
  • Hair loss around the affected area
  • Sweat gland loss

In very rare cases, lymphoma tumors may form on the skin.

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 There Different Kinds Of Ticks

Ticks are parasites that feed on warm-blooded hosts. They are related to mites and spiders because they are all arthropods. That means they have eight legs. There are many kinds of ticks. Some of the most common ticks in the U.S. include:

  • Blacklegged tick, also known as deer ticks.
  • Lone Star tick.
  • Dog tick .

Ticks can vary in size and color. Some are larger. Some are brown or reddish-brown. Others are darker. Some have lighter markings on their backs.

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How Does A Tick Bite Affect My Body

You might not even know youve been bitten by a tick. Most dont cause pain or itching but some do. Some tick bites dont cause disease. Sometimes you can remove the tick before it can pass on any germs.

The tick bite itself may not cause symptoms except for some type of skin reaction, like a rash or a small hard lump. The infection that tick bites can give you may begin to cause symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

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

The list of possible symptoms is long, and symptoms can affect every part of the body. The following are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease. But symptoms are slightly different for each person.

The primary symptom is a red rash that:

  • Can appear several days after infection, or not at all

  • Can last up to several weeks

  • Can be very small or grow very large , and may resemble a “bulls-eye”

  • Can mimic such skin problems as hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, and flea bites

  • Can itch or feel hot, or may not be felt at all

  • Can disappear and return several weeks later

Several days or weeks after a bite from an infected tick, you may have flu-like symptoms such as the following:

  • Headache

  • Swollen glands

Weeks to months after the bite, the following symptoms may develop:

  • Neurological symptoms, including inflammation of the nervous system and weakness and paralysis of the facial muscles

  • Heart problems, including inflammation of the heart and problems with heart rate

  • Eye problems, including inflammation

Months to a few years after a bite, the following symptoms may include:

  • Inflammation of the joints

  • Neurological symptoms including numbness in the extremities, tingling and pain, and difficulties with speech, memory, and concentration

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Recognizing The Rash After A Tick Bite

It is important to understand that a rash is not always present or easily recognizable in early Lyme disease, and this can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment.

Please refer to our poster of varied Lyme disease rash manifestations as a helpful identification tool.

When present, it is wise to take a picture of the rash with the date for your medical record, since a rash compatible with erythema migrans rash should prompt urgent evaluation and treatment. Lyme disease is most successfully treated in this first stage.

If you have a suspicious rash or your symptoms persist, please seek medical care immediately.

The erythema migrans Lyme disease rash is:

  • Round or oval, enlarges in size over days/weeks, & will not fade in a few days
  • Usually greater than 2 inches in diameter, often 6-8
  • Usually uniformly red
  • Sometimes but not often, a bulls eye rash with a red ring surrounding a clear area and red center
  • Minimally tender, minimally itchy , and sometimes warm
  • Often confused with spider bites

The incubation period from tick bite to rash is usually 3-10 days but can be 30 days.

The Lyme rash can spread through the bloodstream to other areas of the skin.

Sometimes blisters develop in the center of the rash.

Tick bite reactions are often confused with the rash of Lyme disease.

Tick bite reactions:

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:

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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.

Symptoms Of A Tick Bite

How to Spot Lyme Disease | WebMD
  • A tick bite does not cause pain or itch. So, ticks may not be noticed for a few days.
  • After feeding on blood, ticks get swollen and easier to see.
  • Ticks fall off on their own after sucking blood for 3 to 6 days.
  • After the tick comes off, a little red bump may be seen.
  • The red bump or spot is the body’s response to the tick’s saliva .
  • While it’s sucking blood, some of its spit gets mixed in.

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What Months Are Tick Season In The Us

Although tick season ranges across the country, the beginning of tick season is in April. In some areas of the country such as the Midwest, ticks will begin to pose problems in late April, whereas the Northeast will see tick season begin in mid-April. From April through to October, ticks will thrive in the wooded areas they live in. October typically marks the end of tick season however, the Northwest may see tick season last into November.

Image by Sam Solomon on : What months do ticks come out?Its important to know so you can avoid the risk of being bitten.

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Does It Matter What Kind Of Tick Bit Me

There are many different species of ticks, but the detail that matters is whether you were bitten by a deer tick or dog tick, which are known to transmit these two major diseases to humans.

The only two major diseases we see reside in deer and dog ticksif youre bitten by a random tick that doesnt transmit disease, youll be fine, says Dr. Schrading, who clarifies that deer ticks transmit Lyme disease and dog ticks transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Other ticks, like the Lone Star tick, for example, also transmit diseases. But infections from Lone Star ticks make up a small percentage of all tick-borne illnesses, per the CDC.

The tricky thing is that theres no way to tell from the actual bite itself which tick nabbed you. That said, if you develop the classic bullseye rash or a spotted rash spreading across your body, it’s pretty clear which tick was the culprit. At that point, you should definitely hightail it to your doctors office for evaluation, which Dr. Mudassar says is worth doing for *any* tick bite, even one that isnt causing symptoms yet.

Its better if you go to the doctor right away when you know youve had a tick bite, says Dr. Mudassar. If you go within 36 hours of the bite, you can be treated with a lesser dose of antibiotics .

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How Do I Know If Ive Been Bitten By A Tick

Detecting tick bites can be tricky. Unlike the bites of mosquitoes and other insects, tick bites do not tend to cause itching or immediate skin irritation.

Every blood-feeding arthropod and insect introduces saliva into the wound, explains Jonathan Day, PhD, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida. In the case of mosquitoes and some other biting insects, this saliva contains proteins that prevent the bite wound from clotting, which would slow the outflow of blood and therefore disrupt feeding, Dr. Day explains.

Apart from preventing your blood from clotting, these proteins also trigger a reaction from your immune system. This reaction produces redness, swelling, itching, and all the other unpleasant skin irritations that come with bug bites, Day explains.

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But tick bites are different. Ticks suppress that reaction with immunosuppressants in their saliva, Ostfeld explains.

Since you cant feel a ticks bite, you can detect it in one of two ways:

What Diseases Do Ticks Transmit To Humans

These Detailed Pictures Show the Exact Tick Bite Symptoms to Look For

Although most tick bites do not transmit pathogens, some bites do. It is not possible to determine if a tick is carrying pathogens visually. The following is a list of all of the major tick-borne diseases, the usual tick vector or common ticks, and the pathogen the tick species that, if known, transmits them in the United States.

This list shows that some ticks can transmit more than one type of pathogenic microbe . It is possible to transmit more than one pathogen in a single tick bite, although this rarely occurs. Outbreaks of tick-related illnesses follow seasonal patterns as ticks evolve from larvae to adults.

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The Three Stages Of Lyme Disease

The disease is medically defined in three different phases:

  • The disease is localized, with skin inflammation and rash at the area around the tick bites.
  • The disease can cause palsies and meningitis, and can damage the heart and nervous system.
  • The disease also features motor and nerve damage and brain inflammation, along with arthritis.
  • 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.

    Can Any Tick Bite Give Me Lyme Disease

    No, not all ticks can transmit Lyme disease. In this area, only Ixodes scapularis ticks, also called deer ticks, can spread Lyme disease, and only if the tick is infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Even after a bite from an infected tick, it must be attached long enough usually more than 36 hours to spread the infection to a person.

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    What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease occurs in children between the ages of five and fourteen, and in adults aged forty to fifty years.

    The disease is more active in substantial areas with a higher risk of Lyme disease. Its risk factors include occupational exposure to ticks and outdoor activities, including gardening, walking in woods, moving in the fields, and other high-risk areas.

    The disease does not pass from mothers to unborn babies under any circumstances. Lyme disease is not contagious at all and is not spread by touching or by sharing personal belongings, only through tick bites.

    Tick Bites And Removal On Humans

    Doctor explains what you should know about ticks

    The CDC shares that there is, believe it or not, a proper way to remove a tick that has already bitten you. Here’s how:

  • Grasp the tick as closely to your skin as possible using tweezers.
  • Use steady, even pressure to pull up without twisting or jerking.
  • Then, use tweezers to remove the mouth, if that didn’t come out with the rest of it.
  • Clean the area thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  • CDC TIP: Do not crush the tick with your fingers! Instead, put the tick in alcohol, place it in a sealed bag or container, wrap it tightly in tape, or flush it down the toilet.

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    What Do Tick Bites Look Like Tick Bite Pictures

    Taking a look at tick bite pictures will help you recognize how they look like. Whats the importance of this? So you can distinguish which bites are likely to cause you harm from those that you can simply ignore until they go away because many insect bites look the same. How do you determine which are actually bites from stings, which can be harmful and which require medical attention? Some bites, like those caused by mosquitoes, may be itchy and cause temporary discomfort but are generally not dangerous. Tick bites, on the other hand, are known to cause infections and give you different kinds of illnesses including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.

    Certain bugs and insects give us grounds to be cautious about what harm they can probably do and based on some tick bite pictures, ticks apparently could figuratively and literally get under the skin. Even as generally their bites are not serious and do not necessarily mean an infection, the fact that they carry diseases such as those mentioned above can make you worry. Here are some of the reasons why:

    These are some of what you might experience when bitten by a tick. It is best to prevent the bites from happening to avoid the complications they bring. Cover your feet, legs, arms and head when going outdoors in woody, grassy areas. Use tick repellants containing DEET or permethrin.

    See Your Doctor After A Tick Bite If You Notice A Bull’s

    Do the same if you notice a bite either from a tick you found or from an unknown source thats not acting like a mosquito bite. If the rash is any bigger than a highly localized red spot like a mosquito bite then go see a doctor, he says. Likewise, see your doctor if you feel any flu-like symptoms, muscles aches, or chills within a week to 10 days of the bite, all of which can be indicative of tick-borne infections, he adds.

    If a doctor suspects you may have contracted Lyme or some other type of infection, he or she will prescribe antibiotics, either oral or possibly intravenous, to treat the problem.

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