What is Tick bite?

In the United States alone, ticks are considered to be the primary vectors of human diseases. The concern here is not the bite itself but the toxins and microorganisms present in the tick’s saliva transmitted via tick bites.

Ticks are arthropods that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. Painlessly, they excavate into the skin with their feeding part, bite, withdraw blood and finally drop off after they become swollen as they are filled with blood.

There are roughly 800 species but only two families of ticks, namely Ixodidae and Argasidae, are identified to spread infections to humans. Ixodidae or the hard ticks possess a tough back plate that defines their appearance. They are likely to attach and feed for hours to several days. On the other hand, Argasidae or the soft ticks have rounded bodies and do not possess a hard back plate. They feed only for less than an hour.

In almost all cases of tick bites, the area bitten by ticks develops usually painless, red rashes. Usually, there is a formation of classic bull’s eye on the skin surface. Classifying theses rashes is a significant problem as it is very similar to skin infection and inflammation. Later, the bite site develops burning, itching and hardly ever, a localized intense pain is experienced. Some individuals may develop shortness of breath and paralysis.

When a tick is spotted in the body, remove it right away to avoid a skin reaction and decrease the odds of getting infected. With a pair of curved forceps, snatch the head of the tick held as near to the skin and pull it straight up. Never squeeze the tick. Pull the head of the tick gently away from the skin until the tick lets go. Put it in a container with a tight-fitting lid for examination. Clean the area of the bite with a rubbing alcohol and afterwards, wash hands with soap and water.

People living in regions where the risk of getting Lyme disease is relatively high, a single dose of doxycycline can prevent the disease if taken in 3 days of a tick bite.

To help decrease pain, itching and inflammation, ice application for about 15 to 20 minutes every hour for as long as necessary is recommended. Doctors may suggest antibiotics, antihistamines, local anesthetics, skin protectants such as calamine and topical corticosteroids.



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