How to know if you have been bitten by a tick: its symptoms

The ticks They are small creatures, similar to insects, which actually consist of mites known also with the name of ixodoideos. In fact, they are considered as mites of May size. Fundamentally there are two widely recognized families: the Ixodiae family, also known as hard ticks, and the family Argasidae, known as soft ticks. In the case of the first there is no doubt that they are the most 'popular', because they tend to attack the human being, in addition to other mammals.

Ticks are usually found in tall grass, more specifically at the end of a leaf, where they wait with the aim of trying to get hooked to every animal that passes. Far from what they mistakenly think, the ticks do not move by jumping, but in fact the only possible method of transmission is direct contact.

When the tick 'sticks' on the host's body, it moves little by little to places that are hotter and more humid, such as the hair, the armpits and the groin. Once there, they use their chelicerae (pointed appendages) to pierce the skin and begin sucking blood. Then his body tends to swell as it is fed, so it secretes a kind of glue that sticks to the host to continue feeding to the fullest.

Are tick bites dangerous?

Although we should keep in mind that Most tick bites are harmless, it's known that through their bites they can propagate a species of bacteria known by the name of Borrelia burgdorferi, which in turn causes the one known as Lyme's desease.

This disease causes disorders of the nervous system (among which we can mention meningitis or encephalitis), heart disorders and arthritis, in addition to damage to the kidney, liver, adrenal glands. Therefore, it is necessary that this disease be treated quickly, given that about 20% of patients who even receive immediate medical treatment suffer complications.

They can also transmit other diseases, such as:

  • Tularemia: infection caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis which can cause bone and sac infection around the heart, pneumonia and meningitis.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: caused by the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii, it can cause brain damage, coagulation problems, insufficiencies (cardiac, renal and pulmonary), meningitis, inflammation of the lung and shock.
  • Colorado tick fever: caused by the tick bite Dermacentor andersoniIt tends to disappear on its own and is not so dangerous. However, possible complications include encephalitis, aseptic meningitis, and hemorrhagic fever.

So, Tick ​​bites tend to be dangerous when they carry bacteria. Although it is true that, for the most part, ticks tend not to transmit diseases.

The symptoms of a tick bite

There are different symptom especially related to the problems that result from the bite of the tick itself, so we must keep in mind what are the symptoms of the bite, and what are caused by the diseases transmitted by ticks:

  • Symptoms of the tick bite: swelling and severe pain at the site of the bite (some species) that can last several weeks, weakness, rashes and blisters. It can also cause shortness of breath or shortness of breath, weakness and uncoordinated movements.

  • Symptoms of diseases transmitted by tick bites: joint or muscle pain, headache, chills and fever, swollen lymph nodes, stiff neck and red spots or sprouts that starts where the bite has occurred. These symptoms are very similar to those caused by influenza, so if we know that we have been bitten by a tick we should pay attention to the symptoms that may appear in the following weeks.

How is the treatment to be followed?

Medical treatment can only be prescribed by a doctor, since it includes, for example, the prescription of antibiotics (to treat the infection), antihistamines (to decrease inflammation and itching), Local anesthesia (to decrease the pain) and topical steroids (to decrease the itching and redness).

However, at home it is possible to apply ice to reduce swelling, pain and itching. To do this, put ice in a plastic bag and crush it well.Then wrap it in a cloth or a towel and apply it on the area of ​​the bite, leaving it to act for 20 minutes every hour.

Images | John Tann / Elizabeth Nicodemus / KitAy This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor.

Tick Bite (February 2024)