Ticks are spider-like parasites that feed on the blood of mammals such as birds and humans.
What is a Tick Bite?
Ticks are spider-like parasites that feed on the blood of mammals such as birds and humans. Forests and high grasses are the natural habitats of ticks. Their sizes may vary between 1 mm and 1 cm. Although their colors vary depending on the species, they are generally shades of red and black. The number of legs can be 6 or 8. Ticks are usually too small to be seen with the naked eye. Therefore, it is difficult to notice at first. However, over time, they grow by feeding on your blood. At this point, they become easier to spot. When you realize that you have been bitten by a tick, contrary to popular belief, you should not try to remove the tick quickly. Killing the tick immediately and waiting for it to fall off on its own will be the best course of action to avoid the tick bite with the least damage. If you try to remove the tick by force, you may cause the allergenic substances in the tick’s saliva to come into contact with the body.
Ticks contain bacteria, viruses and various single-celled organisms that can cause disease in the creature they bite. Tick bites are generally harmless and do not cause any symptoms. You may only feel a minor sting or soreness when biting. However, if you have other symptoms, such as a rash, it may mean that the bite caused you an allergy or infection. In this case, a hospital is immediately applied and treatment of the disease is started as soon as possible. Diseases that can be seen after tick bites are:
- Lyme disease: It is an infectious disease caused by the Borrelia bacteria.
- Tularemia: It is a disease caused by the Francisella tularensis bacteria and manifests itself after an incubation period of 3 days.
- Ehrlichiosis: Known as the brown dog tick.
- Rocky Mountains: Appears within 5-10 days after being bitten.
- Spotted fever: It is an infectious disease seen especially in America.
- Anaplasmosis: It is more common in animals.
- Babesiosis: Caused by Babasia bacteria. It is seen more frequently than others.
Tick Bite Symptoms
The person may not immediately realize that he or she has been bitten by a tick. Most people become aware of itching or pain in the bitten area. A tick bite can transmit some germs to you. If it is detected early, you can remove the tick before this happens. A tick bite can cause a number of symptoms or infections. These usually include:
- skin rash
- A small hard lump
- Itching or irritation
- Abdominal pain or nausea
How Many Days Does It Take for Tick Bite Symptoms to Appear?
Ticks can survive attached to the skin for another 10 days after biting. Ticks that continue to feed during this period grow larger and become easier to spot. Ticks, which can settle on any part of the body, prefer soft tissue where there is plenty of blood and where it is easy to bite. Therefore especially; It is frequently seen on the neck, scalp, between the legs and behind the knees or in the belly button.
Unlike other parasites, ticks bite a person once. While most people do not experience any symptoms after this bite, some may experience mild or severe symptoms. Harmless ticks can show symptoms similar to a fly or ant bite. These are symptoms such as skin irritation, itching and redness. However, some of them can cause allergic reactions by infecting the host cell with the bacteria they contain. These reactions can occur on any part of the body within 3 to 30 days after the bite. The lack of an immediate reaction after the bite is due to the fact that the pathogen transmitted by the tick has an incubation period in the body. This period may take up to 3 days for some pathogens, 2 weeks for some, and 1 month for some.
What should be done in case of a tick bite?
In case of tick bite, you need to pay attention to the following:
- Before taking any action, you need to make sure that your hands and the tools you use are clean.
- Unlike insects such as flies and ants, ticks bite only once and then burrow into the skin. If it is visible on the skin, you can remove it by shaking the area.
- If the tick is at skin level, you can try to remove the tick from the body using tweezers without pulling too hard until it releases its grip.
- Make sure that no body parts of the tick remain in the skin.
- After cleaning the bitten area with water, clean it thoroughly with any alcohol-based disinfectant.
- Be sure to consult a healthcare institution as soon as possible.
- If possible, after killing the tick with disinfectant, you can keep it in a container and deliver it to your doctor. In addition to the questions your doctor asks, he can examine the tick to determine whether it is a disease-spreading species and get more detailed information about your condition.
What should not be done in case of a tick bite?
- Never touch the tick with your hand or other body part. This may mean that the tick transmits bacteria from its saliva to you.
- Do not try to remove the tick from the skin with bare hands. Trying to remove the tick by squeezing the skin with your fingers will not be possible and may cause the tick to break apart.
- Do not tear, dismember, or crush the tick. In this case, all the secretion of the tick will mix with yours and may cause serious diseases.
- Use only water, soap or disinfectant to remove the tick. Avoid using substances such as Vaseline.
Tick Bite Treatment
As the time a tick stays on the skin increases, the risks it poses to health also increase. For example, skin irritation may increase and the rash may become larger. Therefore, the best thing to do in case of a tick bite is to contact a health institution and get information, just in case.
When you consult a doctor with a tick still on your body, the tick will first be removed from your body in a sterile manner, killed, and then sent to the laboratory for examination. The bite area will then be examined and cleaned again with alcohol-based disinfectants. Afterwards, you may be sent home and told to monitor the symptoms. If a rash develops on any part of the body within 3 to 14 days, this may be a symptom of Lyme disease. In this case, you need to consult a doctor again. Along with the rash, you may have flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, headache, nausea, and fever. These symptoms mean that the bite site is infected. If you consult a healthcare institution without wasting time, your doctor can apply various drug treatments such as antibiotics.
What You Need to Do to Avoid Tick Bite
- Take your walks in walking areas, not in grassy and grassy places.
- Avoid grassy areas, especially after rain.
- When walking outdoors or in risky areas, choose light-coloured clothing that will make it easier to spot ticks.
- If possible, make sure your clothes have long sleeves and your tracksuits are tucked into socks.
- You can use an insecticide called permethrin on your clothes.
- Choose insect repellent sprays that are suitable for use on the body.
- Before entering the house, check your child’s neck and head areas thoroughly to make sure that no ticks have been brought into the house.
- After you come home, you can throw your clothes in the dryer on a hot program for 20 minutes to get rid of the unnoticed ticks that have settled on your clothes.
- If you have a pet such as a dog, make sure they are vaccinated. When you come from outside, check their fur to make sure there are no ticks.
The first method of dealing with tick bites is to avoid tick bites by taking the necessary precautions. However, if you are somehow bitten by a tick despite the precautions, first try to maintain your calm. If you have tweezers with you, you can try to remove the tick after disinfecting it or quickly contact your nearest healthcare facility.