Blood-sucking ticks are nothing to take lightly. Their bites can spread diseases and cause allergic reactions. On the other hand, their bites can also be harmless. But why take chances? If a tick bites you, depending on the circumstances, you may need to get treated. Left untreated, their bite can potentially lead to some serious medical conditions. It’s important to be aware of tick bite symptoms.
What is a Tick?
Ticks commonly hang out in shrubbery – grass, trees, even leaf piles. They are from a class of animals called arachnids, which include mites, spiders, and scorpions. Most have eight legs and typically attach themselves to you, burrowing their heads into your skin and feeding on you. When they’re done, they usually fall off. Some of them carry diseases, most commonly Lyme Disease, which is one of the fasted growing infectious diseases in the United States.
How To Spot a Tick
The smallest ticks are so tiny you may not even notice them, yet they’re the ones that do most of the biting. These immature ticks called nymphs are the size of a poppy seed. By comparison, adult ticks are the size of sesame seeds, and can also grow to the size of a pencil eraser. They can transmit Lyme disease, but fortunately, because of their size, you’re more likely to see them before they can infect you. Nymphs are more active during the spring and summer months, while adult ticks prefer cooler months. They can remain on your skin for up to 10 days.
What Does a Tick Bite Look Like?
Ticks like moist areas of the body and usually strike in the armpits, back of the neck, groin, legs, and scalp. When a tick bites you, it’s likely you won’t even know it until later on when the symptoms start appearing. That’s because their bite is painless – they actually inject an anesthetic into the skin to avoid being detected. Immediately after contact, you’ll notice redness in the target area. Sometimes, you will also see a “red ring” surrounding the primary bite location. You may also actually see the tick, which usually burrows its head under the skin. If you spot a tick on your skin, you might try to remove the tick with tweezers.
Tick Bite Symptoms
As we mentioned earlier, a tick’s bite can be harmless, and you may not get any symptoms at all. If you’re allergic to ticks, you may experience symptoms, including pain or swelling at the bite site, or even a rash or blisters. However, the symptoms are a bit different if a tick has infected you with a tick-borne disease. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, you should get help right away.
- Flu-like symptoms: headache nausea, fever, chills, weakness, joint pain/muscle pain
- Full body rash
- Red spot/red ring near the bite site
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Neck stiffness
Tick Bite Treatments
If you were successful at removing the tick, cleanse the area with soap and water and apply alcohol to prevent further infection. But if the tick still remains burrowed in your skin, get help immediately from the closest urgent care where you could get treatment for tick bites with antibiotics. The longer the tick remains on you, the greater the risk of disease, so you need to act quickly.
See Us For Your Tick Bite and More
The affordable clinics that make up the UrgentMED network provide fast and affordable emergency care. We have primary care physicians on staff at all 15 of our convenient locations. We’re the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California, and we’re ready to help diagnose and treat your tick bite, so you can feel better, sooner.