No matter how careful, despite the precautions, ticks can still sometimes get an opportunity to bite you or the people you care about. When this happens, administering proper tick bite treatment could save you from a lot of trouble. Some ticks are known to pass on bacteria that could lead to several illnesses and infections.
If you travel to or live in places where you may be highly exposed to ticks, you are likely to experience tick bites every now and then. Some bites you can simply brush off as nothing to worry about, but some bites could prove to be serious.
Prompt but careful removal of a tick that has attached itself onto skin helps prevent further damage other than the mark it would leave behind. But you should observe the mark for any signs of illness that may be developing. Tick bite treatment is definitely going to be needed in the event that you experience any of the following:
- Muscle aches
- Stiff neck
- Joint pains
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Photosensitivity (sensitivity to light)
- Flu symptoms
If you experience any of the above symptoms, a visit to your doctor’s clinic is necessary. But in case of paralysis, breathing difficulty, chest pain, heart palpitations or severe headache following a tick bite, immediately get in touch with your local emergency hotline.
Tick Bite Treatment You Can Do at Home
Serious health problems are not always a result of a bite caused by a tick as there are ticks that do not carry diseases. Even if you find a feeding tick on the skin, if you are able to remove it right away, disease is less likely to take place. Still, it is good to know the things you can do at home to treat a bite or a biting tick.
- Ticks vary in size. Some are so small, you can barely see them much less see that you are able to completely remove a feeding tick attached on the skin. The ideal way to detach it is to use a pair of tweezers, not your bare hands. Grab the tick on its part that is closest to your skin, never on the belly area. Doing so could trigger a release of infected fluid into your skin. Do not twist as you pull the tick off but simply pull straight out until the tick lets go and not leave a part of its body (generally the head) in the skin.
- An effective home tick bite treatment is to wash the site of the bite with warm water and soap. You may use a mild dishwashing liquid for a more effective clean.
- Apply antibiotic ointments like polymyxin B sulfate to an irritated bite then cover with bandage. Should a rash or any sign of further discomfort develops, discontinue use. The skin could be sensitive to the ointment.
- After a bite, apply ice pack or a cool wet cloth on the site for the next 6 hours to relieve pain and swelling. Benzocaine-based anesthetic sprays can also help reduce pain.
- You may also try over-the-counter anti-itch medication or calamine lotion to relieve itching and redness.
Tick bite treatment by a medical practitioner is deemed necessary when pathogens are suspected to have been transmitted to a person. The type of tick and the length of time it is attached on the skin are also factors to consider for specific treatment. Home treatments are only good for non-harmful bites but some cases may require antibiotics or even hospitalization.
The Don’ts in Treating a Tick Bite
- Do not try suffocating an attached tick with petroleum jelly, nail polish/nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, gasoline and other methylated spirits in an attempt to dislodge it.
- Do not try to detach a tick by burning it.
- Do not handle a tick with bare hands; always use gloves. In case of accidental bare hand handling, immediately wash your hands with soap and water. Follow with a disinfectant rubbing alcohol.
- Do not delay seeking medical attention at the first sign of an infection.
There are many insects and arachnids with awful reputation for causing diseases but the tick, being prevalent in many areas is among the most dreaded. The bite is not primarily the root of the ensuring health problems but the transfer of fluid from the tick to the victim. A better understanding of tick bites will educate you when to do and what to use in a tick bite treatment so you can stay safe and tick-borne-disease-free.