Ticks are arthropod parasites which carry disease causing bacteria in their saliva that they transmit to humans through a bite. However, tick bites can also be innocuous. Ticks are mainly found in grasslands and woods. On the human body they mainly attack areas such as armpits, hair and the groin region.
For the most part there are no discernable symptoms of a tick bite. Most individuals may not even realize that they have in fact been bitten as the bite does not evoke any kind of pain. Later on however, the person may notice the area to take on a red appearance. It may also itch uncontrollably and the person may experience a burning sensation. Some specific types of ticks may cause a throbbing pain in the infected area.
If the victim is unfortunately allergic to tick saliva discharge he may experience symptoms of breathlessness, the area around the bite may swell up or become numb, he may also notice a rash and in extreme cases paralysis might occur.
Uncommon immediate symptoms that warrant prompt medical attention include fever, nausea, tremors, weakness, chest pain and difficulty in breathing.
Some of the diseases that one can be inflicted with through a tick bite include:
- Lyme’s Disease: In the initial stage of this illness, the patient has a symptomatic rash along with fever, uneasiness, a feeling of tiredness and often a severe headache.
- Ehrlichiosis: The vector of this ailment is the brown dog tick. The patient is likely to develop a high fever, experience acute muscle pain along with discomfort. He will however not suffer from a rash.
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever: With similar symptoms as Ehrlichiosis, this type of fever causes the victim to get a rash. However, the rash only manifests itself after 5 to 10 days of the tick bite. It must be noted that this illness the responsible for the highest number of deaths caused by a disease spread by ticks.
What is essential to note is that the signs of these diseases show up days or even weeks after the bite.
Proper removal of the tick is important to decrease the chances of infection. One should ideally use a pair of tweezers and ensure that the tick in its entirety is removed. The tick bite should then be cleaned and an antiseptic cream may be applied. It is essential that you keep checking the area for any rash or other symptoms, in which case you should seek medical help. After removing the tick its correct disposal (flushing it down a drain) is important. If you have contracted a tick-transmitted disease then the treatment will depend on the disease and its severity. Oral antibiotics are mostly recommended. However, in severe cases the doctor may suggest hospitalization. Whichever line of treatment has been opted for, it depends completely on the disease, and hence diagnosis is the most crucial aspect which must be dealt with carefully.
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