What is a tick bite ?
A tick bite results from the bite of various species of microscopic ticks that are as small as a pinhead.
Over the past 90 million years, around 800 different species of ticks have been found on earth. However, only two kinds of ticks with hard plate covering have been known to cause diseases.
All forms of ticks, except the eggs require blood for survival. The ticks can jump or fly and hence crawl onto the body of a host. Most of the illnesses are caused by female ticks as male ticks die after mating.
Some ticks can survive without blood for even up to a year, while most die. Hard ticks can feast on blood for hours till it satiates itself. This is when the germs get transferred. Some ticks can transfer germs within minutes of a tick bite, while others may take a lot more time.
Symptoms of tick bite
- The tick bite is usually painless even after the end of the feeding session and when the tick has fallen off the host
- A tick bite may develop into a rash which causes redness, itching and burning sensations
- A tick bite leads to secretions that cause allergic reactions leading to breathing difficulties, inflammation, numbness or paralysis.
- A tick bite may sometimes cause fever, vomiting, weakness, palpitations, swelling, headache, respiratory problems and disorientation.
Causes of tick bite
- Various kinds of ticks live in tall grasses and shrubs, in densely forested regions. They can cause tick bites, once they successfully crawl onto the body of a host.
- Exposed skin increases the risk to a tick bite
Treatment of tick bite
- A cleansing cream or an antibiotic should be used to clean the tick bite
- Itching caused due to tick bite can be alleviated with the use of topical or oral drugs that contain diphenhydramine
- The different diseases caused by tick bite need to be treated as per individual diagnosis. The treatment may sometimes require intravenous administration of antibiotics
- One can prevent tick bite by removing the tick as soon as it attaches to the body. The affected area should then be cleaned with soap water. One can also avoid a tick bite by wearing long boots and adequate clothing to limit skin exposure, whilst in forested areas.