Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

About Tick Bites

Tick bites are something which is extremely common in the United States. Tick bites normally occur during the summer season. Ticks are mostly found outdoors in woody areas on the grass, leaves, trees, and shrubs. They thrive in the warm climate and are attracted towards humans and animals alike. Individuals who spend a lot of time outdoors in woody areas or areas where there are a lot of shrubs are more prone to tick bites. In majority of the cases, tick bites are harmless and do not pose any threat to the overall health of the individual. However, if an individual is allergic to the toxin that the tick releases when it bites a human being, then it may cause certain serious complications like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

The questions that most people ask are whether tick bites are itchy, is there any swelling due to tick bites, and the different ways to remove ticks from the body. This article gives a brief insight to all these issues related to Tick Bites.

Are Tick Bites Itchy & Do They Swell?

Are Tick Bites Itchy?

Normally, tick bites do not cause any symptoms. The area of the body where the tick bites can become tender for some time or inflamed, but other than that there are no other symptoms. Thus, a tick bite in an otherwise healthy individual does not cause any itching. However, if the individual is allergic to the toxin released by the tick when it bites, then along with redness and swelling, there will be itching which can at times be severe. This itching is because of the toxin released by the tick which causes the immune system to react by releasing histamine which produces the itching sensation. This is also termed as tick bite itchiness. There may also be accompanying pain and inflammation along with the itching sensation due to the tick bite.

The itching caused by tick bites can be treated by washing the area with antibacterial soap. Application of cold compresses is also quite beneficial to soothe tick bite itchiness. Topical antihistamines can also be applied on the affected area for relief of tick bite itchiness.

Do Tick Bites Swell?

In a healthy individual, there is no swelling observed at the site of the tick bite. However, in cases where the individual is allergic to the toxins released by the tick may result in significant swelling at the affected site. The swelling will be accompanied by pain, redness, itching, and inflammation. This is due to the histamine that is released by the body’s immune system to counteract the toxin released by the tick.

Removing Ticks From Humans

Tweezers are used to remove ticks stuck on the surface of the skin. One has to grasp the part of the body of the tick that is above the skin surface with the help of tweezers and gently pull up the body of the tick ensuring not to jerk or twist the tweezers as this can break the tick and some part of the tick may remain embedded on the skin surface. In case if the tick breaks then first remove the tick that is above the skin surface and then the part of tick that is embedded in the skin should be attempted to be removed. One should not prick the skin or try to remove the tick by fingers if you are not able to remove the tick from the skin. Once the tick is removed, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and dispose off the tick taken out of the body.

In conclusion, a tick bite is harmless in most of the cases and is asymptomatic unless the affected individual is allergic to the tick toxin in which case the body’s immune system reacts and histamine is released resulting in itching and swelling at the affected area. For removing the tick, tweezers are the best.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: July 9, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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