If you enjoy walking, camping, and spending time outdoors, you’re likely to get ready in the summer to avoid sunburn and mosquito bites. But if your outdoor adventures include extended time in wooded areas where ticks predominate, you’ll definitely want to watch out for these blood-seeking insects, as their bites could spread Lyme disease. This may leave you wondering: how can you tell if you have had tick bites? Specifically, do they sting tick bites?
Tick bites don’t usually bite initially, according to Brian Kim, MD, co-director of the Center for the Study of Itch at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Louis. “But afterwards, they can itch after entering the skin,” he says.
This is not always good. “Tick bites are often completely asymptomatic and you may not even feel the sting when it happens,” adds Joshua Zeichner, MD, associate professor in the department of dermatology and director of aesthetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital. of New York. City. “A lot of patients find ticks sticking to the skin and they don’t even realize they’re there.”
Tick bites are not just a nuisance. If ticks transmit Lyme disease (only certain types of ticks do), you could end up with severe, long-lasting symptoms such as joint pain and neurological problems. You may even develop a meat allergy (you can learn more about this curious link here). Other common but less severe symptoms and side effects include rash, fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, headache, stiff neck, and swollen lymph nodes.
If you experience flu-like symptoms and / or the revealing rash that Lyme indicates, you should definitely seek medical attention as soon as possible. However, the “revealing” eruption is not always so revealing, sometimes it seems a little different. The CDC has a useful, albeit quite graphic, page of photos of different ways in which the eruption can be seen. It doesn’t mean you have to diagnose yourself from this page, but it’s helpful to see how many different ways this rash can occur. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may want to perform certain lab tests or you may start with antibiotics immediately if you obviously have Lyme. If caught early, it can disappear in a few weeks.
Some ticks are extremely small and difficult to detect, making it even harder to determine if they have stung you if the sting doesn’t sting. Do a full and complete search of ticks when you return home. And before you go out, take steps to prevent tick bites, including using a tick repellent on your body or a product called permethrin on your clothes (find out why it’s so great against ticks here). Dr. Zeichner also recommends wearing long pants and long sleeves to prevent ticks and other insects from biting you.
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