There are two ways you may discover that you have been bitten by a tick. It is possible to find a wound with a rash around it and not see a tick attached, but most of the time, you're going to see the tick. A tick doesn't just bite you and crawl away. It embeds its head into your skin and draws blood for several hours, often more than two days.
The longer a tick is attached to you, the bigger it gets. After about 24 hours, you should notice a tick that is attached to you. Today, we discuss what it means when you find a Lake Worth tick on your skin, the proper way to remove it, and how to address the source of your pest problem.
Common Ticks In The State
There are several tick species that are common in Florida. We commonly see brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, black-legged ticks, and Lone Star ticks. Each of these ticks is slightly different, but all of them present a health risk for humans and pets.
The two diseases that are of most concern are Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) and Lyme disease but ticks are linked to ehrlichiosis, tularemia, arboviruses, babesiosis, tick-borne relapsing fever, rickettsiosis, anaplasmosis, and more.
Is It A Tick Bite?
When a tick bites you and you don't detect it, it may leave behind a wound that is surrounded by a rash, or you may experience a rash across your body. If the rash looks like a bullseye, it is cause for concern. It could mean you were bitten by a black-legged tick and that there is a risk of Lyme disease.
If the rash looks like spots all over your skin, you may have Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) which, as the name implies, is associated with a fever as well. The CDC asserts that the case-fatality rate of RMSF is as high as 30 percent in certain untreated patients. We recommend seeking medical attention if you notice a spotted rash. If you find a tick bite, it is best to have it checked out by a physician, no matter what tick bit you.
Is It An Adult Tick?
Not all ticks are infected with a disease that can be transmitted to humans. The chance of disease is even lower for seed ticks. This is because seed ticks are tick larvae that may not have had a blood meal yet. If your child comes in with dozens of Lone Star seed ticks attached to him/her, it may look worse than it is.
Those little six-legged ticks have a low chance of disease transmission (if any at all). You may be able to simply pluck the little bugs off and dispose of them. Once you've removed them all, wash the area and apply a disinfectant.
What To Do When You Find A Tick
If you find a tick on your skin, rather than a tick bite, it is important to know the proper steps for tick removal.
- Use a tick-removal tool if you have one. This tool is designed to remove ticks. It scoops under the tick and drags it out of your skin, head and all.
- If you don't have a tick-removal tool, use needle-nose tweezers. When you pinch the tick, refrain from pinching the body and try to get as close to the head as possible. Once you have it, pull up and outward.
- Use a magnifying glass to see if the head is lodged in the skin. If it is, remove it. If you're unable to remove it, don't worry. It should come out on its own. It is just best to remove it if you're able.
- Put the tick in a sealed plastic bag so that you may show it to your physician.
- Clean and disinfect the area to reduce the risk of disease.
How To Address The Source Of A Tick Bite
When you find a tick on your body and remove it, the last thing you want is to find more ticks on your body. To prevent tick bites, you need to stop ticks before they bite you. Here are some tips:
- When you go outside in an area where you might pick up a tick, spray mosquito repellent on your legs and feet.
- Make sure your pets have good flea and tick collars, and routinely check your pets for ticks.
- If ticks are coming in from your yard, consider tick control for your property. Routine treatments around the exterior of your home can prevent ticks from coming into your home on your pets, your kids, or you.
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