How to treat and prevent tick bites

Insects such as ticks transmit diseases to both animals and humans. Sometimes the effects are severe.

Last update: 18 January, 2022

Tick ​​bites cause from mild discomfort to dangerous diseases, both in humans and animals. They are arachnids that inhabit the soil, grass, leaf litter, bushes and trees.. They are characterized by having 8 legs, being brown, reddish or black.

In a higher percentage, the wounds caused by these bugs are not dangerous. However, the pediatric journal Primary Care points out that there are hard or ixodid ticks and soft or argasid ticks, of which many species that generate infections are subdivided.

Going through a park, the field or a patio exposes one to a bite of such insects, which jump to attach to skin of a pet or a person.

How to identify tick bites?

It is possible to be bitten by ticks and only know when symptoms appear, if they are the disease-carrying type. The period to show the signs is extended up to 10 days after the contact, time in which it is stuck to you. After the feeding period, the insect swells and tends to fall to the ground.

The areas of the human body that ticks usually bite are the groin, around and inside the ears, armpits, navel, scalp, waist, buttocks and behind the knees. They look for warm, moist parts that are difficult to see.

Tick ​​bite symptoms

When tick bites are harmless, you only notice a slight redness and itching. Sometimes there is no pain, because during the anchoring in the skin an anesthetic substance is inoculated.

The following signs reveal suction by the mite:

  • Eruption.
  • Burning.
  • Blisters.
  • Sickness.
  • Fever.
  • Headache and joint pain.
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes.
Ticks tend to shed when they swell from blood sucking.

Some types of ticks transmit viruses and bacteria, cause allergic reactions or serious pathologies.

Diseases associated with a tick bite

Although there are harmless bites and others that lead to common infections, there are some quite rare conditions that should not be neglected, As the Spanish edition of Annals Nestle. The text notes that the lack of preventive measures, the delay in diagnosis and the application of treatment cause the mortality rate to vary.

The complexity alterations contracted by a tick bite are usually the following:

  • Tularemia.
  • Anaplasmosis.
  • Lyme’s desease.
  • Colorado tick fever.
  • Babesiosis.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is the most frequently reported disease in the United States. It takes at least 36 hours to contract it. of the insect attached to the skin, while other pathologies linked to it require only minutes of contact.

Treatment for tick bites

If you detect a tick bite, the first thing you should do is remove it from the skin. Use your hands covered with gloves; tweezers also work to grab it as close as you can to the dermis.

Without stopping pressing, pull up and, when taking it off, check that there is not a piece of its head or mouth in the peck. Clean with water and disinfect with iodine or isopropyl alcohol.

As for the bug, drown it in alcohol and store it in a container with a lid. If it is necessary to attend a medical consultation, take the tick. Knowing its type helps to prescribe specific treatments when the infection becomes complicated.

How to prevent tick bites?

Certain tips decrease your chances of being bitten by a tick:

  • Do not sit in heavily vegetated areas.
  • Prefer closed shoes.
  • Wear clothing with long sleeves and legs.
  • Avoid paths with tall grass.
  • Wash used clothing in hot water on days of possible exposure.
  • Check pets.

Also, the CDC recommends apply changes in the garden to convert them into land free of these insects and not attract deer, for example, because their ticks carry diseases for humans. Added to the advice is the fact of using control chemicals that reduce the number of ticks.

A publication from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health mentions repellents with DEET and those containing permethrin as an alternative against these insects. Always respecting the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings for use.

The activity of hiking and camping are risky to be bitten by ticks when they develop in areas with a high prevalence of the mite.

When to go to the doctor?

See a doctor if you can’t get the tick off. Keep in mind that the longer it is attached, the risk of disease transmission increases. Palpitations, muscle paralysis, and breathing problems are considered signs of complications.

However, even if you are asymptomatic from the beginning or the discomfort disappears, it is appropriate to visit the professional. After a few days, an emergency could manifest and it is important to comply with a treatment that prevents sequelae.

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