If you have a tick bite, you need to identify it fast. Learn the signs and symptoms of tick bites on humans.
Signs and symptoms of tick bites on humans
If you have a tick bite, you need to identify it fast, remove the culprit from your skin and preserve it for species identification by a professional. Taking these steps helps with tick-borne disease prevention and if necessary, treatment. Unfortunately, things don't always go according to plan and bites aren’t always easy to identify. Here's what you need to know about tick bites to keep you, your family and your pets safe this tick season.
How do ticks get on you?
Ticks can bite you anywhere on your body, but they really love moist, warm places. These pests will often latch onto your socks or shoes, then make their way up to your groin area. If your sleeve or arm brushes up against some tick-infested grass, they'll make their way up to your armpit instead.
Where should you look for tick bites?
Always check the areas mentioned above first, then check the rest of your body. Pay particular attention to any areas that have hair, especially on your head and face. It's easy for ticks to hide in hair. On both humans and pets, ticks love to attack behind and around the ears. At the nymph and larval stages, ticks will attach to the backs of pets, while at the adult stage, they tend to feed around the paws and between the toes of dogs and cats. Tick bites on humans can occur all over your body, no matter the life cycle stage, so enlist the help of a loved one to perform a thorough search of your body. Look or feel for new bumps on your skin.
What's the easiest way to identify a tick bite?
Being bitten by a tick is never a good thing, but in the best case scenario, you'll know that you have a tick bite by the tick literally being attached to your body. Ticks take a long time to fully engorge themselves (how long depends on the size and life stage of the tick). If you're practicing the recommended frequent tick checks after coming in from outdoors, chances are you’ll find the tick bite while the bloodsucker is still attached. This is highly beneficial since ticks take at least 12 hours of feeding to transmit most tick-borne diseases. Plus, if you find the tick attached, you can remove and save it so your doctor can identify the type of tick that bit you. This is vital for monitoring and treating any diseases it might carry.
What do tick bites on humans look like if the tick isn’t present?
If the tick was removed without you knowing it (e.g., in the shower, through physical impact, random scratching or the tick is simply done feeding), you might be left with just a bite mark as evidence. Within three days of a tick bite, the most common identifying mark is a dime-sized red spot. This is caused by an allergic reaction to the tick’s saliva. This reaction can be worse if you’ve previously been bitten by the same species of tick. A tick bite mark can start off looking like any number of insect bites (even a mosquito bite, despite the fact that ticks are arachnids), so it's important to monitor any suspicious marks you may have. Draw a circle around the site of the bite with a pen and if in 36 hours the bite expands its reddened, raised appearance, seek a medical opinion as this could be a sign of Lyme disease. Tick bites may have a black dot in the middle of them, or if the body was removed and the head and mouthparts remained in your skin, you might see a larger black mark (or even pincers). Some bites from ticks will have a hardened bump underneath the site of the puncture.
What is the tick bull's-eye bite?
Ticks carry many diseases, perhaps none so deadly and frightening as Lyme disease. One of the telltale signs that you might be infected is if the bite expands, with another red circle appearing around the original site of the bite. This gives the bite the appearance of a red bull's-eye, though this doesn’t have to be present in order for Lyme disease to occur. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop a bull's-eye around your tick bite.
How do you prevent ticks from getting on you?
Ticks transmit a number of diseases that can be deadly. In addition to taking precautions when you go outdoors, call Terminix® today and find out how to shield your family and your pets from tick bites.