As summer approaches, the tick season approaches. Although tick-borne illnesses are infrequent, they can be pretty serious. However, there are several things you can do to avoid tick bites or to treat them quickly if they do occur.
Nothing beats exploring the great outdoors with your family as the weather warms up. However, if you plan to hike through dense forest or grassy areas — or anywhere else that is lush and shady — be vigilant for ticks.
These tiny parasitic spiders attach to the skin, causing bites that can result in tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease (see below). Not all ticks transmit this bacterial infection; approximately 12% carry it.
Because tick bites are typically painless, you may not even notice you've been bitten (which is why checking for ticks regularly is critical – see below).
Ticks are at their most active in the spring and summer. While ticks are most prevalent in woodlands and forests, they can be found anywhere damp and shady. They cannot jump or fly but can easily pick up while walking through long grass or greenery. They can be tiny — as small as 0.5mm, or about the size of a poppy seed — and grow to a maximum height of 1.5cm (though their bodies balloon when they feed).
If a tick bites you, you may develop Lyme Disease symptoms. These symptoms usually manifest as redness or a rash around the bite after 1-4 weeks (or anywhere from 3 days to 3 months) (see below). Lyme disease may present with flu-like symptoms such as the following:
Lyme Disease can progress to more severe symptoms such as persistent fatigue, neurological symptoms, and inflammatory arthritis if left untreated.
If a tick bites you or you notice a tick bite on your skin, remove it immediately. This can be accomplished with a pair of tweezers. Take the following steps:
After the procedure, you can consult a physician to discuss your risks and potential complications.
Around three out of every five people bitten by a tick develop a rash in Europe.
At the bite site, the most common type of tick rash occurs. It's pretty distinct, resembling a bull's-eye, with a red circle surrounding the immediate area, followed by a process of clear skin and another ring of redness. These transitional stages may occur gradually. Occasionally, however, this combines into a single large rash with a darker central circle. In addition, the rash's edges may feel slightly raised.
Although the rash is unlikely to be itchy, it may feel warm. Most rashes appear within the first four weeks of being bitten, but they can appear anywhere between three days and three months after being bitten.
Are you curious about what happens when a tick bites you? Fortunately, most people will experience no symptoms following a tick bite. However, if you are allergic to tick bites, you should watch for pain and swelling at the site of the bite, a burning sensation, blisters, a rash, and difficulty breathing.
Dress in lengthy shirts and long pants with your socks tucked in the most straightforward way to avoid being bitten while in tick-infested habitats — such as forest, woodland, or long grass.
Additional preventative measures include the following:
If you live in a tick-prone area, check for ticks regularly. The sooner they are removed, the less likely you are to contract tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease. Generally, the tick must remain attached to your skin for at least 24 hours for you to become infected.
Adults are most likely to have their lower legs bitten. However, children's most frequently bitten areas are the head, neck, and armpits.
The most secure method of removing ticks from the bite site is to:
If you develop Lyme Disease symptoms, contact your doctor immediately and inform them if you have been bitten or believe you have been bitten. Continue to do so even if the symptoms disappear, as this does not always mean the disease has also disappeared.
If you have suspected or confirmed Lyme Disease, you will almost certainly be prescribed a two- to three-week course of antibiotics to eradicate the bacteria that transmit the disease. Additionally, it is critical to complete the course, even if your symptoms improve.
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