Tick Bites That Can Cause Lyme Disease

lyme disease story avril lavigne
Avril Lavigne Opens Up About Her Struggle With Lyme Disease
January 20, 2016
counties with Lyme disease carrying tick population
New Study Finds Lyme Disease Carrying Ticks Reside in Half of All U.S. Counties
January 27, 2016
Show all

Tick Bites That Can Cause Lyme Disease

Lyme disease should not be taken lightly. If you have been bitten by an infected tick while you were outdoors and were lucky enough to have developed that characteristic bulls eye rash, or you simply have been bitten by a tick in general, you have a few options. It is best to first try and consult with a Lyme knowledgable doctor for treatment options. But you can also come to us at VitaLyme for our alternative treatment options. Tick bites are no laughing matter and they look unusual, which is the reason why you should take immediate action before any Lyme disease symptoms develop.

Lyme Disease Information

tick bites that cause lyme disease

Also known as Lyme borreliosis, Lyme disease is infectious and is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, which can latch on the black-legged ticks or deer ticks, and sometimes other insects, and in turn infect humans and other animals upon biting them. The tick bites, if not treated early, can lead to symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, neurological problems, immune system failure and other Lyme disease’s symptoms.

If not treated, the infection can spread to the nervous system, the heart, and the joints. If you are suspecting Lyme disease and you seek testing, the condition is often diagnosed by doctors based solely on physical findings (rash), possibility of infected ticks exposure, and symptoms. We however recommend, if performed with accepted methods and used accordingly, laboratory tests are helpful.

Many Lyme disease cases can be successfully treated with antibiotic courses. However, if you want to go with the alternative and increasingly popular natural route, you can consult with us at VitaLyme.

Some of Lyme disease’s preventive measures include addressing tick bites by promptly removing ticks, using insect repellent, avoiding the tick habitat as much as possible, and applying pesticides. The ticks may sometimes transmit other diseases, too. Though keep in mind ticks are not the only method of transmission, just the most commonly known method.

Symptoms and Signs of an Infected Tick Bite

If an infected tick bit you and you weren’t able to remove it in time, here are some of the symptoms that occur in three to 30 days after you were bitten. You can experience swollen lymph nodes, joint and muscle aches, fatigue, headache, chills, and fever. As for the characteristic rash, it occurs only in a few of infected individuals.

The rash usually starts appearing after 7 days or a delay of 3 to 30 days. It gradually expands over a few days and can reach up to 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter. While rarely painful or itchy, the rash can feel warm if touched. The rash sometimes clears as it becomes bigger; thus, resulting in the appearance of a ‘bull’s eye.’ It can appear on any part of your body, depending on where the tick bit you.

If you allow days or months to pass after a bite, you may experience symptoms that are more serious. You may experience neck stiffness and severe headaches and more rashes may appear on different parts of your body. You can also experience arthritis with swelling and severe joint pain, especially in large joints like the knees and hips. Other symptoms resulting from tick bites may include:

  • Bell’s (facial) palsy, which is characterized as muscle loss or drooping on both sides or one side of the face;
  • Lyme carditis (irregular heartbeat) or heart palpitations;
  • Inflammation of the spinal cord and brain;
  • Episodes of shortness of breath or dizziness;
  • Nerve pain;
  • Short-term memory problems; and
  • Numbness, tingling, or shooting pains in the feet or hands.

Infected Ticks

The above symptoms are caused by tick bites from infected ticks. Ticks are part of the spider family and there are hundreds of varieties of them in the world. A lot of them are host to viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that cause disease in animals/humans.

In the eastern and Midwestern United States, the deer tick or Ixodes scapularis is Lyme disease’s primary vector. On the country’s west coast, the bacteria is hosted by the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). Amblyomma americanum (lone star ticks), which are prevalent in the south, may also transmit Lyme disease or various related illnesses.

The typical tick has four life stages: as an egg, as a larva, as a nymph, and as an adult. After hatching, and in every stage, the ticks suck blood away from animals like deer, birds, squirrels, and mice. The ticks then drop off the animal host, enter dormancy, and then molt to begin the next stage.

The ticks are not initially infected with Lyme disease. The ticks contract the disease by feeding on an infected carrier, often a small rodent or a mouse. The ticks then pass it to the next person or animal they bite.

Transmission Time of Infection

There is disagreement among experts about how long tick bites lead to Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that in most instances, the tick should be attached to the host for over 24 hours. However, we at VitaLyme believe that is not always the case. We have known of many individuals who have removed ticks within a few hours of being bitten but they still got infected with Lyme disease.

One study reported on a Lyme disease case transmitted after six hours of the bite. The risk may be initially low, but it is not a zero risk. Moreover, there are also studies indicating that about only 30 percent of Lyme disease patients recalling being bitten. If they were not aware of a bite, how can they know the duration of the tick’s attachment to their skin?

The longer a tick stays on your body, the chances of you getting Lyme disease are likely. You should find and take away that tick as soon as you see it.

Removing Ticks After Bites

If you see that a tick attached to you, don’t panic. There are several devices that can deal with ticks and tick bites and they are readily available on the market. If you happen to have plain fine-tipped tweezers, you can effectively remove a tick.

Use the tweezers to clamp on the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible. Removing a tick after bites
Removing a tick after bites
With even and steady pressure, pull upward. Don’t jerk or twist the tick as it may lead to the tick’s mouth parts to separate and stay on the skin. In such instance, use the tweezers to remove the mouth parts. If you cannot easily use clean tweezers to remove the mouth, leave it alone to allow the skin to heal by itself.

After removing the tick, use rubbing alcohol, soap and water, or an iodine scrub to clean your hands and the tick bites area.

Get rid of a live tick by immersing the tick in alcohol. Afterwards, wrap it with tape. Wrap it tight or flush the tick down the toilet. Do not use your fingers to crush the tick.

You should see your doctor if a fever or rash develops within weeks of getting rid of a tick. Tell the physician about the tick bite, where you may have been bitten, and when the bite happened.

It is also important not to implement folklore remedies like ‘painting’ the tick with petroleum jelly or nail polish, or applying heat to detach the tick from the skin. It is more important for you to remove the tick quickly – not wait for the tick to detach itself.

Tick Testing After Removal

There are also people who have removed ticks. Yet, they still want to have the tick tested. A number of local and state health departments offer tick testing and identification as a service to the community. The departments also do it for research uses like evaluating the rate of infection among a certain area’s tick population. If you seek to do this, consult with your local health department.

Normally, individual tick testing is not always useful since:

Negative results can be misleading and you may be falsely assured that you are not infected with Lyme disease. You may have gotten tick bites from another tick that was infected.

If you contracted an infection, you may develop Lyme disease symptoms before the tick test results become available. The results are not an indication for you to start the right treatment option. If you want to check out our VitaLyme alternative option, you can also consult with us.

If the test indicates that the tick has organisms that cause diseases, it does not always mean that you are infected.

If you are always outdoors, intend to go outdoors, or live in an area with a lot of open spaces that are potential hot spots for ticks, it is always useful to learn about the various types of ticks. For your own sanity, you can keep a tick that you have taken away from your skin and – if you wish – have it tested. Tape it to paper or place it in a tiny container.

Infection From A Tick Bite

Infection From A Tick Bite
The normal course for treating tick bites that lead to Lyme disease is by antibiotics, either topical or injected, depending on the condition’s severity. However, complications may arise especially if the symptoms are not readily addressed. Sometimes, the best way to cure Lyme disease is by preventing it and it can be done by wearing protective clothing or using strong (but safe to the skin) insect repellents.

If you want to know more about alternative treatments for Lyme disease, we at VitaLyme can help. Let us know how we can be of further service to you.

Comments are closed.