People who enjoy being in nature or who have pets that spend a lot of time outdoors can get a tick bite. Tick bites are painful and can lead to serious health problems and long-lasting symptoms.
What is a tick bite?
A tick bite is carried out by ticks, which are also known colloquially as wooden ticks. With the appropriate biting tools, which are extremely hard and resistant, the ticks can penetrate the soft skin and bite the affected regions. Through this bite, the ticks get to small, blood-carrying vessels, from which they suck the blood through a special proboscis. For meanings of hollow nack (hyperlordosis), please visit polyhobbies.com.
Ticks are insects and are mainly at home in forests and meadows. They resemble spiders and are considered so-called ectoparasites. The ticks can suck blood not only from humans, but also from roaming animals through the tick bite and feed on it for a long time.
In particular, tiny ticks that are no larger than the head of a pin start the tick bite. Large and swollen ticks are already saturated with blood and fall off on their own. Since the ticks are very difficult to recognize and inconspicuous, the tick bites on some rather insensitive, extremely warm parts of the body are not noticed at first.
The causes of a tick bite are quite different. However, the tick bite itself is considered to be the causal trigger for many diseases. In addition to Lyme disease and the so-called tick bite fever, allergic reactions and painful inflammation of the skin are the result of tick bites.
Tick bite fever is caused by a bacterium known as Rickettsia rickettsii. In contrast, the invading Lyme disease bacteria, which belong to the spirochaete class, cause the typical symptoms. The term spirochaete is chosen because the bacteria have a helical appearance. These microorganisms, in turn, use the tick as a host and enter the human body through its saliva.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
A tick bite can always be clearly identified when the animal is still sitting on the skin. If this is not the case, the diagnosis can only be made by the symptoms that occur. Symptoms can be divided into three stages. Not every tick bite leads to disease. In studies, infected people remained symptom-free.
The first four weeks after a tick bite are characterized by local infection and flu. There is permanent redness around the puncture. This expands its radius and fades increasingly in the center. In addition, those affected develop a fever after a few days. Fatigue, joint pain and even intestinal problems are also possible. Doctors speak in this context of the Lyme flu. However, it does not include a cold or a cough.
After the first four weeks, the pathogen spreads further and further in the body. It can attack the nervous system, the heart and the skin. Flu symptoms such as fever and headaches reappear. Sudden and uncontrollable sweating characterizes everyday life.
A good 16 weeks after infection, the disease becomes chronic. In other words, the symptoms mentioned above recur again and again. Symptom-free periods alternate with periods of flu and other signs. Paralysis and sensory disturbances, tachycardia and high blood pressure as well as skin nodules appear.
A tick bite does not necessarily lead to serious symptoms. Complications can arise when the tick is infected with Lyme disease and transmits the bacteria to humans. Various symptoms can then occur, such as headaches, muscle and joint pain, fever and conjunctivitis.
If left untreated, flu-like symptoms can develop after a few months, and eventually the nervous system becomes ill too. Such neuroborreliosis is associated with meningitis and nerve root inflammation and symptoms such as paralysis and neurological deficits. The heart can also be affected and inflammation of the heart muscle and pericardium occurs, which is accompanied by cardiac arrhythmias.
The most severe complications occur with a tick bite in Lyme disease stage III. In this stage, chronic joint inflammation, skin changes and permanent nerve damage up to paralysis occur after months or years. As a result, Lyme disease is almost always fatal or at least causes serious damage to health that requires lifelong treatment.
Apart from the typical side effects and interactions, the therapy itself does not involve any major risks. However, venous administration of the medication can lead to infections and, rarely, to injuries or the formation of blood clots.
When should you go to the doctor?
In the case of a tick bite, self-help measures are sufficient in many cases. A visit to the doctor is therefore not always necessary. The person concerned should obtain sufficient information on how a tick can be completely removed from the organism. If all requirements are strictly adhered to, a complete freedom from symptoms can be expected after a few days. If the tick cannot be completely removed for various reasons, the support and help of a doctor should be sought.
It is worrying if the tick’s head is still in the wound. In these cases, complete removal of the insect must be initiated by a doctor. If various health irregularities occur after a tick bite, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. In the event of irregularities in wound healing, internal weakness, fever or other diffuse health problems, you should consult a doctor.
If the general well-being deteriorates significantly within a short period of time, an emergency service must be alerted. There is a need for action in the event of cardiac arrhythmia, fatigue and abnormalities in the muscular system. If symptoms of paralysis occur, a doctor must be consulted immediately. Headaches, sensory disturbances or abnormalities in memory activity must be examined and treated as quickly as possible. If neurological deficits are noticed, intensive medical care of the person concerned is necessary.
Treatment & Therapy
Several types of treatment are relevant for Lyme disease, which can occur after a tick bite. In addition to extensive diagnostics, targeted oral treatment with antibiotic medication is particularly recommended, which can be administered in the early stages and over a longer period of time.
If Lyme disease is only recognized at a late stage, special antibiotics such as ceftriaxone and the substance hydrochloriquine are also available as therapy. Since Lyme disease is difficult to treat due to the course it takes, it is doubtful whether the third stage of the disease, which occurs after a tick bite, can be treated. In addition to anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs, other symptomatic substances are also prescribed.
A tick bite can definitely be prevented. In addition to the effective use of sprays and creams against ticks, the most important protective measures include wearing light-colored clothing and closed sleeves and trousers.
In addition, it is advisable to examine each other for the presence of ticks after spending time outdoors. A tick bite is particularly to be feared in skin folds, in the hollows of the knees, armpits and other soft skin areas if no protection has been provided.
Staying in areas heavily infested with ticks (mainly meadows) can also be avoided during the high season. Strongly scented essential oils, such as lavender, rosemary or tea tree oil, as well as closed and sturdy shoes also help against tick bites.
After spending time in the great outdoors, it is advisable to check the body at home, especially in areas with a large number of ticks. In the event of a tick bite, the family doctor should be consulted if possible. He can expertly remove the insect, minimizing the risk of disease transmission.
Even if the tick has already fallen off, a doctor can carefully remove the animal’s residue and clean and disinfect the wound. The wound should be covered with a plaster, regular cooling promotes healing. Scratching the wound should be avoided as much as possible. If unusual redness or excessive itching occurs, it is essential to consult a doctor.
Even if a tick bite has usually healed after one to two weeks, the area should still be observed. Complications can also only appear after months or even years. It is therefore important for those affected to recognize possible signs of an infection with Lyme disease in good time.
Physical complaints such as persistent headaches and body aches should therefore be clarified by a doctor. Even if a single tick bite is usually unproblematic, preventive measures such as sturdy, closed shoes and strongly scented essential oils from lavender or rosemary can prevent the associated health risk.
You can do that yourself
If a tick bite is noticed, the general practitioner should be consulted. The pest must be professionally removed to minimize the risk of disease transmission. If the tick has already fallen off, a doctor’s visit is also indicated. Animal residue must be removed. The wound must be disinfected and cooled.
After a tick bite, it is important to monitor the bite site. Redness, itching and other unusual symptoms must be reported to the doctor. Avoid scratching the wound. In addition, the bite area should be covered with a plaster and regularly cooled to promote the healing process. The bite should have completely subsided after a week or two at the latest. The affected area must continue to be observed, as secondary diseases can still occur months or years later. In addition to external signs, diseases such as Lyme disease are also noticeable through physical complaints such as joint pain or headaches.
A single tick bite is usually not a problem. Nevertheless, every bite must be examined by a doctor and the risk of a bite must be minimized. In the event of a bite, medical care and checking the body for further tick bites is important. Preventive measures prevent a tick bite and the associated health risk.