What are tick and insect bites and what are the symptoms?
Ticks are small spiderlike parasites that fasten themselves onto the skin and feed on blood. Tick bites occur most often during spring and summer and in areas where there are many wild animals. An allergic reaction may result from a tick bite. This reaction may be mild, with a few annoying symptoms, or rarely, a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) may occur. Ticks may also become infected by deer on whose blood they have fed. A person bitten by an infected tick is at risk for developing Lyme Disease.
Lyme disease symptoms vary widely because Lyme disease can affect various parts of the body. Typical symptoms include a red rash that starts small and progresses in size over a few days to a month, often taking on a bulls-eye appearance. Other symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches. If the infection is not treated, the person may develop bouts of severe joint pain and swelling, possible neurological problems, eye inflammation, hepatitis, and severe fatigue.
Insect bites and stings are common and usually harmless. Insect bites and stings often result in pain, redness and swelling in the injured area. Allergic persons can experience a localized allergic reaction (swelling, heat, or itching at the site) or a systemic allergic reaction such as hives, wheezing, shortness of breath, faintness, and swelling of face or mouth.
What is the treatment for tick and insect bites and stings and early lyme disease?
If you have been bitten by a tick, it is important to remove a tick’s entire body as soon as you find it, because the longer the tick remains attached to your skin, the greater your risk of developing infection or lyme disease. To remove, use fine-tipped tweezers held as close to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick away from your skin. Wash the site of the bite. If you have not had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years, you should visit a healthcare provider such as Take Care ClinicSM to get this vaccination.
If any of the symptoms of early lyme disease listed above are experienced, you should visit a Take Care Healthcare Provider. Treatment for Lyme disease is most effective when begun early. If treated early, most cases of Lyme disease can be successfully treated with a few weeks of antibiotics.
Treatment of insect bites and stings depends on the type of reaction. If there is only redness and pain at the site
of the bite or sting, application of ice is adequate treatment. Clean the area with soap and water, and refrain from
scratching because doing so may cause an infection. Itching at the site of the bite or sting may also be treated with an
over the counter antihistamine or calamine lotion.