- There is a bump on the skin after a tick bite in my child!
- I have a red bump despite the tick being removed.
- Should I be alarmed about a tick bite lump under the skin?
These are common questions asked by patients of tick bites. Ticks can transmit diseases and while not all tick bites result in Lyme disease, it is important for you to know what to expect following a one. This way, you can take necessary precautions; seek medical help or use home remedies to treat tick bites.
Tick bite lump without seeing the tick?
Ticks are small parasitic creatures that feed on blood of humans and animals. Their sizes vary depending on which species they belong to as well as the life cycle stage they are in. Ticks are very common areas having dense vegetation and thick or tall grass. Woodlands, marshy areas, forests and even urban parks and gardens are homes to ticks.
Sometimes you might not even see the tick that bit you. Ticks do not jump or fly like fleas do and you might encounter one on your walk or hikes. Once they latch on to your skin they can easily hide in your clothing, inside your socks or shoes and even I your hair. Pets could also bring ticks inside your home. A single adult female tick is known to lay hundreds of eggs which then hatch and lead to an infestation. Majority of the deer ticks which cause small tick bites and Lyme disease however simply bite their host and then fall off. Sometimes, the tick might remain attached to the host’s skin for days feeding on their blood. It might be several days before the host notices the bite and by that time, the tick might have fallen off.
Ticks are commonly seen in the United States during the warmer months between spring and autumn.
Tick bite turning red and other symptoms
- The site of the bite often turns red
- Some people are known to develop a bull’s eye rash where bitten
- In extreme cases, there may be joint swelling and arthritis
- Fever, confusion, chills, general malaise and aches and pains are some other symptoms of tick bites.
- Without treatment, viral and serious conditions such as meningitis, facial paralysis or facial palsy, nerve damage etc could also develop. It is essential to contact the doctor immediately in event this occurs. Take the prescribed medicine in order to prevent chronic symptoms.
- In some cases, there may be a small hard bump or lump under the skin in the site of the tick bite.
How long does a tick bite last?
There is no fixed tick bite healing time and while most people recover quickly, some might take longer. How long a tick bite lasts depends on your general health and immunity. People with weaker immune systems, elderly patients and geriatric dogs tend to suffer for years following a tick bite. If you do not seek immediate medical help, there is a greater chance that you might suffer from chronic Lyme disease symptoms such as fever, joint pains and so on. So if you have not seen the tick bite you but have been spending considerable time outdoors while having above symptoms, you must seek advice from your GP.
Tick bite prevention
- Perform a tick check– To ensure that you haven’t picked up a tick outdoors; make sure you perform a complete tick check of self and others. Check your entire body and also your hair and scalp. Ticks show preference for moist and warm regions. So do check the groin, armpits, hair, scalp, the area behind the neck and ears etc.
- If you find a tick attached– remove it using a pair of tweezers. Pull the tick vertically upwards and outward so as to not leave any infected mouth parts embedded in the skin.
- Wash the tick bite area completely with warm water and antibacterial soap.
- Keep a watch for 24-48 hours. If you develop fever or joint pain, seek medical help. Your GP might prescribe a dose of antibiotics for 3 weeks. Take the entire dose as recommended.
Young children and pets are especially prone to tick bites. So do make sure you check them after they come back home from outdoors.
Simple steps to avoid encountering ticks
- Always walk or hike in well demarcated areas that are free from vegetation and tall grass etc.
- Wear light colored clothes having long and full sleeves, a cap or a hat with a bandanna, as well as full pants, socks and closed shoes when hiking in tick infested regions. Tuck your flowing pants inside your socks or shoes. This will prevent ticks from climbing inside your pants.
- Avoid sitting under trees or in the grass.
- Apply insect repellents such as DEET sprays all over your person. You can also invest in pesticide treated clothing which repel ticks as well as mosquitoes especially if you are an avid hiker.
It can indeed be very alarming to see a tick bite lump under skin when you are least expecting it. Being tick aware and knowing where they are found can help you avoid tick bites. Remember: do seek medical help promptly if you feel unwell after having recently spent time outdoors.