As much time as we spend outdoors, we make ourselves more prone to getting bit by insects and pests.
Ticks, being one of them, are blood-sucking arthropods that feed on humans, dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, deer, and other animals. Ticks are found in many different climates and regions throughout the US. They inhabit woodlands with plenty of shrubbery, tall grass, and weeds.
Some tick bites are harmless and many of us will never know they even happened. However, other bites can cause allergic reactions, muscular pain, or tickborne diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease.
Below are our life-saving tips on how to identify, treat, and prevent tick bites, so that you and your family can stay happy and healthy year-round.
Common types of ticks
Ticks are no bigger than one or two millimeters in size. So for little guys, ticks can pose quite a threat to your skin and health, if bitten and left untreated.
Ticks come in many variations and occupy various regions throughout the states. Here are the 3 most frequently encountered ticks.
American Dog Tick
The American Dog Tick, also known as the Wood Tick, is oval shaped with brown and red tints. They’re most commonly found in gardens and spotted plants during the spring and summer times. They inhabit Central, Southern, and Eastern regions of the US as well as the Rocky Mountains. If bitten, they can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
The Deer Tick, also known as the Black-Legged Tick, has a black-red complexion. Found in the spring time, they primarily feed on humans, dogs, white-tailed deer, mice, squirrels, racoons, birds, and other woodland creatures. They also can transmit anaplasmosis, babeosis, and Lyme disease.
Lone Star Tick
The Lone Star Tick has a reddish complexion whereas the female ticks have a “lone star” or white dot on their backs. They occupy eastern and southeastern states. The most irritating among the three, these ticks are notorious for their aggression, irritating symptoms such as redness and discomfort, and for transmitting ehrlichiosis and the heartland virus.
Where to check for ticks
Ticks prefer the warm moist areas of the body due to the ample blood supply in those areas.
If you or your child have been playing outdoors in the garden or in a woodsy area, make sure to check the armpits, legs, neck, and hair for signs of a tick bite.
Use a magnifying glass since ticks can be as tiny as a poppy seed.
To protect yourself and your loved ones from tick bites, make sure to use insect repellent with DEET and wear long-sleeve clothes. Also, check your pets daily, so that you can remedy the problem as soon as it happens.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction
Symptoms of illness or infection are not always immediate, so it is important to monitor for signs and symptoms in the days and weeks following a tick bite. It is important to seek medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms following a tick bite:
- A red bull’s-eye in the area surrounding the bite
- Erythema migrans rashes, even away from the tick bite site, in the period of over several weeks following a known tick bite or a possible tick exposure
- Redness or irritation surrounding the bite
- Flu like symptoms
- Headache or nausea
- Fever or chills
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Joint pain or swelling
- Facial paralysis
Removing the tick immediately will minimize the chance of disease
Because some species of tick can transmit disease or pathogens, immediately removing the tick can minimize the chance of illness.
In fact, if the tick is removed within the first 36 hours the chances the transmission of illnesses, such as Lyme Disease, is only about 1.4%.
How to remove a tick
Once a tick has been identified on the skin, the proper approach to removing it is extremely important. This can be done by using tick removal tools that can be found in most pharmacies, or by using tweezers.
- Put on gloves to minimize the spread of bacteria or pathogens.
- Using tweezers or the tick removal tool, grasp the tick firmly as close to the skin as possible. Do not apply too much pressure or the tick can be crushed.
- Use a gentle upward motion to remove the tick from the skin. Do not twist or turn the tick as this may cause pieces of the tick to break off and remain in the skin, which can lead to infection.
- Place the tick into a sealed bag or jar in case it needs to be identified later by a physician. By being able to identify the tick, physicians are more able to identify the possible illnesses passed into your or your child.
- Swab the area with rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining bacteria.
Treat your tick bite at GoHealth Urgent Care
At GoHealth Urgent Care, our team of highly skilled providers can diagnose forms of tick born infection and provide medication or any treatments needed.
If you suspect a tick bite or tick borne illness, save your spot online or walk-in to any of our locations for immediate care.
GoHealth Urgent Care partners with these regional healthcare providers:
- Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care in New York
- Dignity Health-GoHealth Urgent Care in San Francisco
- Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care in Portland & Vancouver
- Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care in Connecticut
- Mercy-GoHealth Urgent Care in Arkansas, Springfield, St. Louis & Oklahoma
- Novant Health-GoHealth Urgent Care in North Carolina