I Found Out It Was A Deer Tick That Bit Me What Should I Do Now
If a deer tick bit you, one dose of an antibiotic called doxycycline can prevent Lyme disease if:
- you live in an area where there is a lot of Lyme disease
- the tick was probably attached to you for more than 36 hours
- the tick was removed in the last 3 days
Doxycycline should not be given to pregnant or breastfeeding women or to anyone allergic to doxycycline. If a tick bit you, ask your doctor if you should take doxycycline to prevent Lyme disease.
Is there anything I should look for after a tick bite?
After a tick bite, be on the look-out for signs of infection. The first sign of Lyme disease is usually a gradually enlarging, round or oval red discoloration of the skin surrounding the bite. The rash is usually neither painful nor itchy. Once the infection spreads, the same rash can be seen on other areas of the body. Other symptoms of infection may include:
- facial droop
- body aches.
Late manifestations of Lyme include swollen joints, and rarely neurologic problems like severe headaches. Lyme at any stage is treatable with a set course of antibiotics, typically two weeks and rarely more than a months duration.
Warning Signs Of Lyme Disease
While Lyme disease is always transmitted by the deer tick, not all deer ticks carry Lyme disease. Due to their small size compared to other tick species, visual detection is unreliable. According to the CDC, it takes 24-36 hours after a deer tick attaches to the host to transmit Lyme disease. It is usually not the tick you see that spreads the bacteria it is the tick you do not. Therefore, the best way to detect Lyme disease is by looking for the warning signs of infection.
The first sign of a tick bite or removal is a small red bump. This is common for all tick bites and should resolve itself within a few days. Early symptoms that indicate Lyme disease occur within one month of being infected, and later signs may appear up to months after. Knowing the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease is crucial for your safety. Prompt treatment for Lyme disease will not only clear up the symptoms but can also save your life.
Treatment Of The Disease
Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. The nature and duration of the treatment depends on the stage of infection and symptoms.
People who are treated usually experience a quick and full recovery from the disease. Some, however, may have symptoms for several months after the treatment.
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Ticks That Can Transmit Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is spread through a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is carried by around 50% of adult female ticks and nymphs, and can be spread to a host roughly 36 to 48 hours after the tick has bitten the host and begun to feed.
In the United States, two species of ticks are known to carry Lyme disease:
- Deer tick
- Western blacklegged tick
Here in South Carolina , the deer tick, also known as the blacklegged tick — is capable of passing Lyme disease on to a host. On the west coast of the United States, the western blacklegged tick can carry and spread the disease.
If youre suffering from a tick bite, its important to remove the tick as quickly as possible. Heres a blog on how to remove a tick the right way.
Use Insect Repellents No Matter What Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
Sometimes, wearing the right clothes and checking for ticks often just dont cut it. One more way to prevent ticks from sticking to you is using repellents. For this, you have two options: you can use DEET products or products with permethrin. The former is more gentle preventing ticks from latching without killing them. However, they are not guaranteed to work 100% of the time. Products with permethrin kill ticks but are pretty harsh on the user. The latter, on the other hand, is more aggressive. If you opt for this solution, avoid spraying directly on your skin.
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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.
Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.
The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but its not painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans.
Some people with lighter skin have a rash thats solid red. Some people with darker skin may have a rash that resembles a bruise.
The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.
Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell. A rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
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How Can I Prevent Tick Bites
The best way to beat Lyme disease is to avoid the ticks that spread it. Ticks cannot jump or fly, and must wait for a passing animal to grab hold of. They live in areas with tall grass and bushes, and where there are thick layers of plant debris. They do not survive well on well trimmed lawns where the sun will quickly dry them out.
Keep your bushes well trimmed and your lawn free of garden debris. When walking in areas with tall grass or brush, it is important to cover arms and legs with long shirt sleeves and long pants, and to tuck pant cuffs into socks to deny ticks entrance.
Insecticide sprays such as permethrin can be used on clothing before outdoor activities. One application will last in fabric for several months. Insect repellent such as DEET or picaridin can be used on skin, and only last several hours at the most. Apply according to the directions on the package, and be careful not to get it in your eyes or mouth.
After coming in from the outdoors, it is important to look over your body and/or your childs body for ticks. This is best done in the shower or bath. Pay close attention to areas where the ticks may hide in the armpits, in the groin, in the belly button, and on the scalp and behind the ears.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Tick bites are usually painless and most people do not know they have been bitten. Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary greatly from person to person, and may appear anywhere between 3 to 30 days after a person has been bitten.
Symptoms often include:
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Skin rash.
One sign of infection can be an expanding rash, sometimes referred to as a “bull’s eye” rash because it may have rings spreading from the bite site ). It is important to note that rashes without the bull’s eye may occur, and that rashes do not appear in every case of Lyme disease infection.
The PHAC states that if left untreated, more severe symptoms may occur and can last from months to years. Severe symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches
- Additional EM skin rashes..
- Neurological disorders
- Nervous system disorders, including facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy .
- Intermittent muscle, joint, tendon, and bone aches
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and less commonly in other joints such as the ankle, elbow, and wrists.
If untreated, a condition called late disseminated Lyme disease may occur. PHAC reports symptoms include recurring arthritis , nervous system and/or neurological problems. Symptoms can also include numbness and/or paralysis . Deaths from Lyme disease are rare but may occur.
PHAC provides more information on Lyme Disease.
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Is Lyme Disease Treatable
Yes. Lyme disease responds well to antibiotics and is curable.
Most symptoms resolve quickly after the start of antibiotics, however, it can occasionally take weeks or months for all symptoms to completely subside.
The number of days of antibiotics required depends on the symptoms present at the time of diagnosis-a typical course of antibiotics is 2-4 weeks.
Video Answer: Ticks & Lyme Disease
People and their pets spend lots of time together, including in areas where disease-transmitting ticks may be lurking.
The incidence of Lyme disease in humans is on the rise, possibly due to increased media coverage in recent years.
The majority of people infected with Lyme disease develop a distinctive bullseye rash.
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If I Find An Engorged Tick On My Body Should I Get A Blood Test For Lyme Disease
No. The blood test for Lyme is not useful until two to six weeks after infection develops. It is best to remove the tick and monitor for symptoms. If signs or symptoms of Lyme disease develop see your health care provider to decide whether treatment is necessary. However, the blood tests for Lyme disease are useful and reliable in situations where the symptoms have been present for more than 30 days or it has been over 30 days since the known tick bite.
Which Tick Carries Lyme Disease
In the United States, the Lyme disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii are carried by the black-legged, or deer tick species. But how can you tell if a tick is a deer tick, and how can you prevent picking up one? And what are the warning signs and symptoms of Lyme disease? Let us get into it!
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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.
How To Check For Ticks And Bites
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 Tests Are Available For Lyme Disease
When a person becomes infected, the body creates antibodies to protect itself from the bacteria. Certain blood tests are available to measure these antibodies. However, sometimes a “false negative” test can result if there are not enough antibodies in the blood for the tests to detect accurately. A doctor should also do a complete medical examination and gather information about your recent outdoor activities in order to make a clinical diagnosis for Lyme disease.
Its Unclear How Long Ticks Must Be Attached To You To Transmit Infections
Should you happen to quickly find a tick embedded in your skin, dont assume you have no chance of contracting Lyme disease or another tick-borne infection.
The CDC states that a tick must be attached to a host for 24-48 hours to transmit Lyme disease. But a 2015 review stated that the minimum attachment time for transmission of an infection has never been established.
That study also brought to light six documented cases of Lyme disease that had been transmitted in less than 6 hours. Plus, the other diseases that ticks carry such as babesiosis and bartonellosis may occur within minutes after a tick has latched onto your skin.
What does this mean for you? While the transmission risks may be lower the less time a tick is attached to you, the risk isnt completely eliminated if you find an embedded tick and remove it before 24 hours has passed.
Also, keep in mind, many people may not know how or when they acquired a tick bite, making it very difficult to calculate the length of time it was attached for.
Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease Bacteria
The Ixodes tick, also known as the blacklegged tick or deer tick, is the species that commonly carries and transmits the Lyme disease bacterium. In the eastern and midwestern states of the U.S. during the spring, summer, and fall, the main type of tick that carries the bacterium is Ixodes scapularis or deer tick. In the western U.S., Ixodes pacificusâthe western blacklegged tickâprimarily carries Lyme disease bacteria. Your chances of Lyme disease after a tick bite partially depends on the type of tick that bit you and what life cycle stage it’s in.
Who Is At Risk
Many occupations may be at risk, including forestry, farming, veterinarians, construction, landscaping, ground keepers, park or wildlife management, and anyone who either works outside or has contact with animals that may carry ticks
Similarly, any person who spends a lot time outdoors , especially in grassy or wooded areas may also be at risk.
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Later Signs And Symptoms
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
- Facial palsy
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat
- Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
- Nerve pain
I Just Found A Tick Attached To Me What Should I Do
Dont panic. First, remove the tick with a pair of tweezers. Grasp the tick close to the skin and pull directly upwards until the tick comes free.
Try to remove the tick whole. If you do, it is likely the tick will still be alive and moving.
Place the tick in a plastic bag or other sealed container. Try to identify what kind of tick it is that bit you. An online tick identification chart, like the one from the University of Rhode Islands TickEncounter Resource Center may be helpful. If you are not sure what type of tick bit you, it is best to bring it to your doctor or someone else who can identify ticks.
Its important to remember that Lyme disease is not the only infection spread by deer ticks, and deer ticks are not the only ticks that can spread infections. After any tick bite, you should monitor your health. If you develop a high fever or chills, you should seek medical attention, and be sure to mention to the doctor that you have recently had a tick bite.
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When To See A Doctor
Only a small fraction of deer tick bites lead to Lyme disease. If the tick is attached for less than 36 hours, the risk is drastically minimized. However, the earlier you are diagnosed with Lyme disease, the more successful treatment will be. If you suspect you have been bitten by a deer tick, or exhibit any of the early signs or symptoms above, see your doctor as soon as possible. This is especially true for individuals that live in an area where deer ticks are common. Even if symptoms seem to disappear, seek medical attention, as Lyme disease can spread to other areas if left untreated. Also, Lyme disease is only one of the dangerous illnesses ticks transmit.