If you are a person who spends plenty of time outdoors, then being bitten by ticks will be a relatively common experience. They may also enter your house through your pets. There are more than 800 species of ticks throughout the world, and some of them transmit diseases to humans and animals. Larger ticks would be less than half an inch in size, whereas some are so small that they are not visible to naked eyes.
Ticks bite people and animals, and suck on their blood. Deer tick bites are the ones that may cause Lyme disease, so if a person is bitten by an Ixodes species of deer tick, a doctor may either begin with the treatment when signs or symptoms of infection develop, or prescribe preventive antibiotics. Treatment usually depends on the symptoms that a person develops. Among the common diseases that you may get from a tick bite are Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Southern tick-associated rash illness, tick-borne relapsing fever, and tularemia. Less common symptoms are anaplasmosis, Colorado tick fever, and Powassan encephalitis.
Most people pick up ticks while gardening, camping, hiking, or just playing outdoors. In the outdoors, there are certain areas that are infested, and the ticks may attach themselves to you when you walk through such an area, or if you come in contact with infested vegetation.
Treatment for Tick Bites
The first step to take is to remove the tick as soon as possible. There is a method to be followed here to remove it, and it is done by the use a pair of tweezers. The head or mouth of the tick is held with the tweezers, and it is gradually pulled backwards, using a steady force. Try not to puncture the body of the tick while doing so. Then put it in a jar, and seal it. Wash your hands, as well as area around the tick bite with soap and water. You may consult a doctor if you develop any signs or symptoms of illness after a tick bite. If some part of the tick remains embedded in the skin, then also it is necessary to visit a doctor.
There is no need to panic, for the risk of acquiring a tick-borne infection is quite low. You may visit a doctor if you develop a rash, muscle aches, fever, joint pain and inflammation, a stiff neck, swollen lymph nodes, or flu-like symptoms. Also, if you develop any severe symptoms, then you may store the tick a zip pouch for further analysis by the doctor. However, if you experience a severe headache, difficulty breathing, paralysis, chest pain, or heart palpitations, consider it an emergency and visit the doctor immediately.
The treatment will depend on which disease the tick has transmitted to the person. However, a few steps are commonly carried out, which include cleaning of the area and application of antibiotic cream. If there is itchiness, then the doctor may recommend a preparation containing diphenhydramine (Benadryl). In some cases, oral antibiotics may also be prescribed, or a patient may be given IV fluids and medications.
Prevention is better than cure, therefore try to prevent their infestation in your home. When you return after spending time outdoors, carefully check your entire body for ticks. Check under the arms, around the waist, in and around the ears, between the legs, inside belly button, in and around the hair, and at the back of the knees. Another precaution is to wear long pants and full sleeves.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.