What Disease Do Ticks Carry?
What are Ticks?
Ticks are parasites that feed on warm-blooded hosts by biting them. It can infect humans and animals with viruses, bacteria, and protozoans. It may lead to diseases that can be life-threatening. Most tick bites are painless and cause only minor signs and symptoms, such as a change in skin color, swelling, or a sore on the skin.
How Do You Know If You Have Ticks?
A tick bite can mimic other insects’ bits. Here are a few signs that you may have ticks:
- A small bump may appear at the site of the tick bite
- A bump that may develop into a larger rash
- A rash that appears in a bulls-eye pattern
- Itchiness and skin irritation
- Muscle pain and chills
- Rashes that appear within 3 to 4 days after a bite
- Fluid-filled bites
- Muscle pain
What Diseases Do They Carry?
Some bites are minor and may go away on their own. However, some of them also carry bacteria that cause diseases such as:
- Lyme disease. It is an infection that happens when an infected bug bites a human and may cause joint pain. Lyme disease may evolve through stages that can overlap and cause symptoms that may involve the skin, joints, heart, or nervous system.
- Tularemia. It is a highly contagious disease you get from the bacterium F. Tularensis. You can get it from bug bites, infected animals, contaminated water or food, and bacteria in the air.
- Ehrlichiosis. It can cause life-threatening illness if not treated right away. You are at risk of getting severe conditions if you are older than 50, you have a compromised immune system, and or you have a chronic illness.
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever. This is a serious condition caused by tick bites. It can affect anyone who is exposed to ticks, which usually live in tall grass, in wooded areas, and on pets that are allowed outdoors.
Other conditions that are spread by ticks include:
- Relapsing fever
- Heartland virus
- Tick paralysis
- Spotted fever
- Colorado tick fever
- Powassan virus
- Southern tick-associated rash illness
When to Seek Help?
Call your doctor if you are not abl to remove the bug. The longer it remains on the skin, it increases your risk of developing disease from it. It also causes skin irritation. Seek help if the rash gets bigger as it may indicate a Lyme disease that occurs 3 to 14 days after a bite.
Consult your provider even if the rash disappears because you may still be at risk of having the disease. You may need immediate help if you develop flu-like signs and symptoms or if the bite-size seems infected especially if there are changes in colors.
How to Safely Remove A Tick From Your Skin?
- Tug gently but firmly with blunt tweezers near the head of the bug at the level of your skin until it releases its hold on your skin.
- Wearing gloves, grasp the tick with clean tweezers as close to the skin as possible to remove the head and mouthparts.
- Avoid crushing the its body or handling it with bare fingers as you could expose yourself to the bacteria in the tick.
- Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water.
- Do not use kerosene, petroleum jelly, or hot cigarette butts to remove the tick.
- Do not squeeze its body with your fingers or tweezers.
What is the Treatment for Tick Bites?
The health care provider may prescribe antibiotics if you have symptoms of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or another disease caused by ticks. Upon removing the tick, ensure to cleanse and protect the area. See a health care provider immediately if the tick has burrowed into the skin or if the head, mouthparts, or other tick remains cannot be removed.
Permethrin cream may reduce your risk of the inflammation that is caused by the parasite by killing and paralyzing them. It destroys the cell, eggs, and other necessary things that cause ticks to survive.