Tick Bites On Humans When To See A Doctor

Ticks are similar to spiders and mites, because they are arachnids. The blacklegged tick is very common and capable of transmitting anaplasmois, Lyme disease, Colorado tick fever, tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and babesiosis. By the time these vectors reach adulthood, they will be around 1″ in length and are very visible, when they get on your body, but sometimes they like to embed in skin areas that are hidden from the host, so they cannot be seen.

What is a Tick

An adult tick and all members of the arachnids family have 4 sets of legs, with no antennae. They are better known as an external parasite (ectoparasite), because live on the outside of their host and suck their blood to survive. Risks of infection increases during the late spring and summer months.

The tick goes through 4 life stages and they must find a host, in order to survive. If they are forced to find several hosts, it will require a longer growth period, until they have completed their full-life cycle.

Ticks patiently lay on leaves or in the grass and wait for their host. They will attach to the individuals clothing or hair, but slowly make their way to areas of the body, where the skin is very thin. Once they find a home, they will insert its barbed feeding tube into the skin to stay intact.

Some ticks are capable of producing a cement-like substance, while others are capable of producing saliva that contains anesthetic properties, so the host does not experience any pain or notice that they are present.

Diseases are spread to the host, by way of saliva through the feeding tube. It the tick is infectious, then it will be transmitted to the host. They will host for 2-3 days and then drop off to wait for their next feeding cycle.

How to Remove a Tick From a Human

You should never just grab a tick and pull it off of your skin, because you will risk forcing the tick’s blood back into your skin. If the tick is infectious, you will become infected, as well.

  • Grab a pair of tweezers for this task
  • Place the end of the tweezers up against the skin, but get as close as possible
  • Grasp the tweezers and pull upward, avoid twisting and jerking, because you do not want the feeding tube to break off into the skin
  • If there are any reminisce of the tick’s mouth left try to remove it with the tweezers
  • Cleanse the affected area with isopropyl alcohol or iodine (soap and water, if you do not have these products on hand)

How to Kill a Tick

The best way to kill a tick once it is removed:

  • Cut off a strip of tape (any type will do)
  • Place it over top of the tick, with the sticky side down
  • Once the tick is attached to the tape, submerse it into isopropyl alcohol
  • Then place it into a sealed sandwich bad and toss it into the trash
  • You can also wrap it in toilet paper and flush it down the toilet

When removing a tick, it is best to avoid touching it with your hands, because it could possibly be carrying harmful pathogens.

When to See A Physician

It is crucial that you monitor the site for 3 weeks post-removal of the tick. If you notice a generalized skin rash or fever, you should make an appointment with your physician.

Some individuals are allergic to tick bites and may experience an allergic reaction, while anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) is possible, it is very rare.

Other symptoms to look for include:

  • Nausea/vomiting (Rocky Mountain spotted fever,
  • Red rash that has the appearance of a “bull’s eye” (Lyme Disease)
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Myalgias (muscle aches) and joints
  • Extreme fatigue (Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
  • Fever (Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
  • Renal failure (Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)

These symptoms can occur anywhere from 1-21 days post tick bite.