Spiderlike creatures with eight legs such as ticks, spiders and scorpions belong in the arachnid family. It is the ticks, however, that cause the dreaded tick bites which could lead to other diseases. You will observe that the occurrence is high at the start of spring until the end of summer in vicinities populated by many animals and birds.
Some ticks are easily seen or noted while others go unobserved because they differ in size and color. No infection or disease is immediate if one merely crawls on your skin. Most ticks are not disease carriers but constant bites may lead to complications. When they bite, you might want to know the right and the best way to remove a tick attached onto skin. It is during feeding that the tick could infect hence the importance of completely de-attaching its body from the skin.
Allergies, tetanus and flu-like condition are some of what you might experience following some tick bites. When you see a tick attached on someone’s skin…
- Remove the tick properly and completely, the head included.
- Wash the bite site with soap and water.
- Observe and watch for signs of discomforts or possible illness.
- Find out if an anti-tetanus shot may be required or if there are any allergic reactions.
Other diseases that are tick-bite derivative include:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Relapsing Fever
- Colorado Tick Fever
- South African Tick-bite Fever
- Tick Paralysis
- Q Fever
- Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis (HGE)
- Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis (HME)
You may have symptoms that are similar to those caused by flu if you suffer some of the diseases mentioned above. Symptoms manifest between one day and several weeks after a bite and may depend on the type of infection.
Symptoms and Signs of Tick Bites
Ticks may come, bite, feed and go without you noticing because the bites are typically painless. You may be oblivious to it especially if you are doing something else or are asleep as the tick bites. However, those who are sensitive to tick saliva may develop immediate burning sensation followed by itching. Then redness and swelling could follow. Some may even suffer from allergic reactions which could cause:
- Shortness of breath
- Headache and weakness
An immediate visit to a doctor’s clinic is necessary if you experience the above-mentioned symptoms. Because the bites could cause harm and danger, awareness and prompt action is the key to keep you protected.
Treating a Bite
To relieve discomfort, itching and pain brought about by tick bites, you can do the following:
- Following a bite, place an ice pack on the bite site for at least 15 minutes every hour for six hours.
- Help alleviate itching by taking antihistamine drugs. For children, doctors are best consulted first prior to giving antihistamines.
- Spray anesthetics with benzocaine content to reduce pain. Discontinue use at any sign of untoward reaction on the skin.
- Relieve itch by applying calamine lotion on the bite.
- Take over-the-counter medication against pain and fever such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. Play it safe by consulting a doctor when treating children’s fever or pain due to tick bites.
Preventing Bites and Diseases
Because the main food source of ticks is blood (human and animal), they naturally seek you out or your pets so they can feed. The best way to avoid the diseases which may come from their bites is prevention.
- Keep away from infested places. This includes shrubs, wooded areas, litter of leaves, gardens that are unreasonably thick with plants or heavily littered areas left untouched for some time.
- Routinely check for ticks. Ticks are great at hiding so constantly check areas where they may be hiding so you can immediately treat the area in case of a presence. If you suspect that ticks may be biting you, strip to your birthday suit and check parts where a tick can hide: armpit, behind the knees or in the hair.
- Stay away from tick bites by tumbling your clothes on high heat if you suspect ticks to be hiding in your clothes. You may also opt to briefly place your clothes in boiling hot water.
- Routinely examine pets and kids. Before you allow a pet inside the house, make sure that it is tick-free. If a pet is allowed inside, routinely check for tick presence in its fur. Do the same routine check on kids’ clothing and shoes to make sure no tick is let inside the home.
Removing Ticks Attached on Skin
Tick bites can leave a tick has attached onto your skin. Make sure to disinfect the area prior to removing it. Use a pair of tweezers and secure a hold on the tick as close to the head as possible. Don’t twist but pull steadily or press the area to cut the tick loose. Extract any remaining tick part left on the skin. As preventive measure, apply antibiotic ointment on the bite area. Immediately disinfect your hands by washing thoroughly with soap and water.
There may be instances when you would need to seek the help of a doctor and this happens when you fail to completely remove a tick from the skin. Any remaining part on the skin could still cause an infection. If in fourteen days, you experience any of the following, go to a medical clinic for treatment:
- Presence of rashes, pus or if swelling develops.
- The wound develops a red ring.
- Numbness in the legs.
Ticks can be harmful to both animals and humans. Protect yourself and your children from tick bites by keeping away from tick-prone areas. Also, take extra precautions by treating your surrounding with anti-tick pesticides. Have your pets wear anti-tick collars to keep ticks at bay. Education and proper actions are your effective way of battling it out against ticks and the possible dangers they pose at you and your loved ones.