What Do Tick Bites Look Like
A few days after returning home from a hiking trip, you notice a small, red bump on your thigh. Not knowing exactly when or how it got there, you do some research and realize that it might be a tick bite.
Unlike most insects bites, tick bites dont cause pain or itchiness at least not right away. After all, ticks are very small to begin with and they also inject anesthetic into your skin as they feed. Once theyre full, they covertly detach themselves from your skin and wander off again.
So how can you tell if that mysterious insect bite was because of a tick or because of something else? In this article, well explain what tick bites look like and share some pictures of tick bites.
If Youve Been Bitten By An Infected Tick You May Not Develop A Rash
Following a tick bite, many people wait and see if they develop a bulls-eye rash. If not, they may wrongfully assume theyre in the clear.
In reality, less than 50 percent of people infected with Lyme disease have a memory of any rash. Other symptoms, like fatigue and aches, occur in many common illnesses. That can make obtaining an accurate diagnosis challenging.
doubled between 2005 and 2015. Although its most prevalent in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast, its been found in all 50 states.
When Lyme disease is caught in its early stages, the chances it can be cured are greater. But if left untreated, it can lead to a myriad of chronic, debilitating symptoms. Antibiotic treatment is inadequate for 10-20 percent of people, leading to ongoing symptoms, or chronic Lyme disease.
Ultimately, your best defense is to remain vigilant of any unusual symptoms that pop up.
In the early stages of an infection, the symptoms may include flu-like symptoms such as:
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.
Read Also: How Long Does A Lyme Test Take
Don’t Panic If You Find A Tick
“If you find a tick on your child, do not panic,” Dr. Jacobs exclaims. “If the tick is not attached to the skin and is not engorged, then it hasn’t bitten your child and you don’t need to worry. Even if it has bitten through, most tick bites do not end up spreading any disease at all, and the risk of your child getting Lyme disease is still very, very low. Second, note the color of the tick, take a high-resolution photo of it, and plan to try to keep the tick once it’s removed, as that information could help identify what type of tick it is.”
What Should You Do If You Find A Tick
Don’t touch the tick with your bare hand.
Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to your skin as possible.
Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until it lets go. Don’t squeeze the tick, and don’t use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives, or a lit match to kill the tick.
Save the tick. Place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if needed.
Wash the bite area well with soap and water and put an antiseptic lotion or cream on the site.
You May Like: Lyme Literate Doctors In Tennessee
Who’s At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found
The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:
- for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
- from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities
Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.
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.
Read Also: Lyme Literate Doctors In Michigan
Later Signs Of Lyme Disease
What if Lyme disease isnt detected early on? The longer that disease-causing bacteria linger in the body, the more they disseminate, and as these microbes spread to tissues throughout the body, they can trigger a litany of symptoms. CDC says these may include:
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes. These lesions may pop up on other areas of the body
- A type of facial paralysis known as Bells palsy
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling. Knees and other large joints are vulnerable
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Nerve pain
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
You might have persistent or episodic symptoms, says Dr. Green. Pain that seems to move through the body? Thats common too. The hallmark of late Lyme is migratory joint pain: today my right knee hurts and tomorrow Im limping on my left ankle, and, oh, my third finger of my right hand swelled up, and, oh, my neck has swelled up, she says.
In rare cases, Lyme disease bacteria can enter the tissues of the heart. This complication, called Lyme carditis, can lead to lightheadedness, fainting, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or chest pain.
RELATED: This Woman Was Bitten by a Tick in 2007and Shes Still Dealing With Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms
Achy Stiff Or Swollen Joints
Joint pain and stiffness, often intermittent, are early Lyme symptoms. Your joints may be inflamed, warm to the touch, painful, and swollen. You may have stiffness and limited range of motion in some joints .
Pain may move around. Sometimes your knees may hurt, whereas other times its your neck or your heels. You may also have bursitis . Bursae are the thin cushions between bone and surrounding tissue.
The pain may be severe, and it may be transitory. More than one joint may be affected. Most often the large joints are involved .
People often attribute joint problems to age, genetics, or sports. Lyme should be added to that list, as these statistics indicate:
- One study estimates that 80 percent of people with untreated Lyme have muscle and joint symptoms .
- Fifty percent of people with untreated Lyme have intermittent episodes of arthritis .
- Two-thirds of people have their first episode of joint pain within six months of the infection .
- Use of anti-inflammatory drugs may mask the actual number of people with joint swelling .
Joint pain that comes and goes, or moves from joint to joint, could be a sign of Lyme.
Don’t Miss: Main Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
Lyme disease is an underreported, under-researched, and often debilitating disease transmitted by spirochete bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Lymes wide range of symptoms mimic those of many other ailments, making it difficult to diagnose .
The blacklegged ticks can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are known as coinfections . These ticks that transmit Lyme are increasing their geographical spread. As of 2016, they were found in about half the counties in 43 of 50 states in the United States .
Lyme is the fifth most reported of notifiable diseases in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases found annually . Some studies estimate that there are as many as 1 million cases of Lyme in the United States every year .
Most people with Lyme who are treated right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.
But if youre not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat. Within days of the bite, the bacteria can move to your central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and heart .
Here is a list of 13 common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
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.
You May Like: Lyme Disease Specialist Raleigh Nc
You May Like: Vibrant Wellness Lyme Test Reviews
Does Lyme Disease Always Form A Rash
According to the CDC, a rash will form in 70% to 80% of Lyme cases within 30 days of being bit. In % of cases, a rash will form near the site of the tick bite within 30 days. The rash usually doesnt itch and will gradually expand. Its possible that the rash occurs in more cases but simply wasnt noticed. Likewise, it can be very hard for black people and dark-skinned people to notice a Lyme disease rash on their skin.
Its important to realize that Lyme disease rashes dont always look like a bulls eye. If youve been bit by a tick and any sort of rash forms in the days or weeks afterwards, see a doctor!
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.
You May Like: Cutter Lyme Disease Tick Test
Regression And Other Symptoms In Children
Children are the largest population of Lyme patients.
The CDC study of reported Lyme cases from 19922006 found that the incidence of new cases was highest among 5- to 14-year-olds . About one quarter of reported Lyme cases in the United States involve children under 14 years old .
Children can have all the signs and symptoms of Lyme that adults have, but they may have trouble telling you exactly what they feel or where it hurts.
You may notice a decline in school performance, or your childs mood swings may become problematic.
Your childs social and speech skills or motor coordination may regress. Or your child may lose their appetite.
Children are more likely than adults to have arthritis as an initial symptom 01267-2/fulltext#sec0040″ rel=”nofollow”> 25).
In a 2012 Nova Scotian study of children with Lyme, 65 percent developed Lyme arthritis . The knee was the most commonly affected joint.
What Is The Cause
Lyme disease is caused by a type of corkscrew-shaped bacteria called spirochetes. The bacteria are transmitted by little deer ticks the size of a pinhead, dark brown, and hard to see. Lyme disease is not carried by the more common wood tick, which is bigger .
In most states only 2% of deer ticks carry Lyme disease. In the New England states, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, however, up to 50% of deer ticks are infected with Lyme disease. But even in these high-risk areas, only 1% of children bitten by a deer tick get Lyme disease.
If not removed, a tick will stay attached to a person’s skin and feed there for 3 to 6 days. For Lyme disease to be transmitted, the tick needs to be attached for at least 24 hours. You are more likely to get the infection if the tick remains attached for more than 48 hours.
Recommended Reading: Pictures Of Lyme Disease Carrying Ticks
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.
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, don’t 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: Don’t use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They won’t get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.
Also Check: Lyme Disease Arthritis In Hands
The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.
Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
What Are The Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease affects people differently. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Complications of untreated early-stage disease include:
Frequent hospitalizations to manage the disease
Some of these complications result in chronic, debilitating conditions.
Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.
Read Also: Lyme Disease In Horses Treatment
When To See Your Doctor About Lyme Disease Symptoms
Its best to seek medical attention sooner rather than later. The longer Lyme disease goes untreated, the more likely you are to develop severe complications like intense joint pain, heart problems, or cognitive issues.
Lyme disease treatment: Your doctor should refer you to an infectious disease specialist, who can evaluate your symptoms and decide whether you need testing, Dr. Yancey says. If you test positive, youll be given antibiotics to fight the infection.
False-negatives: If your test comes back clean, but youre convinced that Lyme disease is the culprit, ask to be retested. False negatives are common early on since it takes a few weeks for your immune system to build up antibodies to the bacteria.
Support from readers like you helps us do our best work. Go here to subscribe to Prevention and get 12 FREE gifts. And sign up for our FREE newsletter here for daily health, nutrition, and fitness advice.