Ticks are tiny, biting insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. They burrow painlessly into the skin with their feeding parts, bite, draw blood and eventually drop off when they become engorged with blood. Only the feeding parts are inserted into the skin. The body, which is dark in color and ranges from the size of a poppy seed to a pencil eraser, remains visible on the skin surface or scalp. Ticks swell and turn bluish-gray when filled with blood. Most tick bites in the United States involve hard ticks (Ixodidae), which have been increasing in number since the middle 1900s. |
Secretions from the tick's feeding parts can cause skin reactions, such as raised areas, lumps and growths called granulomas. Fever and paralysis also may develop after tick bites, although paralyis is rare. In addition, ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses or protozoa. These organisms can be transmitted from the tick to the host (the animal or person) as the tick feeds, causing disease.
Especially if you live in or near the woods, or a highly wood populated area, tick bites on humans can be a problem. There are many symptoms as well as preventions to help keep you and your family safe from tick bites. Unfortunately there are not many tick bite symptoms because tick bites are relatively painless. You may not even notice that you have a tick on you for several days, in which they would already have feasted on your blood for several days.
There are a few types of ticks and they all carry the risk of exposing you to tick bite disease. First, there is the deer tick which is best known for carrying Lyme disease. Then you have dog ticks which may carry the disease Rocky Mountain spotted fever which may be serious and sometimes even fatal. You also have the Lone Star Tick which could carry the disease known as STARI which stands for southern tick-associated rash illness.
Lyme disease is the most well-known of these tick borne diseases caused by tick bites on humans. Lyme disease was first discovered in Lyme Connecticut when several children in this town were diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was later discovered that deer ticks carried a bacteria which was passed onto the children. Lyme disease symptoms are similar to those found in Rheumatoid Arthritis such as aches and pains in the joints of the body. In some cases, Lyme disease may also cause heart, nerve and brain problems.
Because of the risks of tick bites on humans, insect bites identification is very important. The most important thing to do when you notice a tick bites on humans is to remove it right away and if possible bring the tick with you to a qualified medical professional for identification. If in fact it is one of these ticks, the medical professional can get you started on an antibiotic regimen right away in order to prevent one of these harmful diseases.
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