Sometimes, however, the tick either fails to latch onto your skin or falls off after a while. Therefore, you should be able to identify the bite: it is shaped like a bullseye.
If you see one of these bullseye bites or a strange, itchy rash after you have been outdoors, it is important that you consult with your doctor immediately. Ticks transmit diseases that can be severe, like Lyme, and since you would not know how long the tick was in your skin for, you cannot rule out anything.
To prevent tick bites more successfully, it is important to understand some basic characteristics about this insects. Ticks are notorious for:
- Being slow
- Not being able to fly or leap/jump
- Being mediocre climbers
If ticks are so bad at moving. How do they latch onto your skin? Simple:
- They crawl close to the ground
- Latch onto your boots or even the bottom of your pants
- Then they start crawling upward to find exposed skin
Therefore, prevention requires you to not only use long-sleeved clothes, but even layers of clothes or have the end of your garments tucked into the next piece of clothing.
For example, if you wear gloves when you hike, tucking your long-sleeved shirt under your gloves will make it more difficult for a tick crawling up your hand to find exposed skin. Given the fact that ticks are particularly slow, this technique will also give you more time to spot the tick and trap it – remember never to handle ticks with your bare hands.
It is also important to note that there is a wide range of tick-borne diseases. Apart from Lyme – which is portably the most well-known tick-borne disease – and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), there are a variety of viral and bacterial diseases, as well as parasitic infections.
Apart from Lyme and RMSF, here are some of the viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections you can get from tick bites:
- Babesiosis – This is a parasitic infection from Babesia parasites that infect red blood cells. One in five people diagnosed with Babesiosis also have Lyme Disease
- Anaplasmosis – A bacterial disease transmitted by black-legged ticks or deer ticks. It is worse than Lyme
- Ehrlichiosis – Another bacteria disease that ticks can spread. It is not as common as other tick-borne diseases
- Powassan Virus – A form of arbovirus infection that can result in encephalitis. People who get Lyme can also get this viral infection at the same time. Deer ticks spread this virus.
- Borrelia Miyamotoi Disease – Related to Lyme’s Disease. It causes relapsing fever, but it is rare
- Borrelia Mayonii Disease – Also transmitted by black-legged ticks. This disease is similar to Lyme, and it has only been identified in Wisconsin and Minnesota
- Tularemia – Another tick-borne bacterial disease. It typically causes ulcers in the area where the tick bite is and swelling of lymph nodes. This disease is rare, but it can also be severe
Tick Bites Outside the US
The diseases above and the kind of tick that spread them, are prevalent in the US. Some might also be present in the wooded areas of countries like Russia. Nevertheless, if you are going to travel abroad, you should check for the kinds of ticks and the diseases the transmit in the places you are travelling to.