Healthcare Tips

5 Things to Know About Tick Bites

June 18, 2024

Tick season peaks in early and late summer, but these tiny nuisances can bite anytime the temperature is above freezing. Here are 5 things to know about tick bites as you take advantage of the beautiful weather this summer.

How to Stay Safe From Tick Bites

Prevention of Tick Bites

Prevention is your number one defense against tick bites. If you’re hiking in the woods, do your best to stay on the trails and other areas where the brush is trimmed back. If that’s a challenge, choose clothes that offer an element of protection. Long sleeves, pants, hats and closed-toe shoes do a great job in limiting access to these tiny critters. Using a bug spray with 20% DEET is also very effective at repelling ticks.

Know the Appearance of Ticks

Ticks have eight legs like a spider and are typically reddish-brown to black in color. Ticks range in size from as small as a pinhead to as large as a marble, growing as they ingest your blood. 

Conduct a Body Scan

After you spend time outdoors, conduct a tick check. You can use a mirror or ask a loved one to scan your body from head to toe, paying close attention to anything that looks like a mole or moves on your body. Pay close attention to warm, moist areas like armpits, the groin, between the toes and under the waistband. Remember – the smallest ticks are the size of a pinhead. Look closely!

Be Aware of Symptoms

The sooner a tick bite is identified the easier it is to counteract any ill-effects. Even if you don’t find a tick on your body, contact your medical provider (or visit immediate care) if you have a sudden high fever; a headache that doesn’t go away; unexplained drowsiness; or, sore joints. The biggest tell-tale sign of Lyme Disease is a bulls-eye rash somewhere on your body. If you do find a tick, remove it gently so as not to leave any part in your skin. Then, save it on a piece of tape to show your care provider.

Know the Risks of Tick Bites

Lyme Disease is the most talked about illness associated with ticks. But there are numerous other diseases that ticks carry as well. The good news? Most ticks do not carry disease, so stay calm if you do come across a tick. Your risk for developing disease goes up the longer a tick is attached to you as well as the longer you wait to seek treatment. It’s important to be timely with your tick checks and medical provider follow-up, as warranted by your symptoms.

While tick bites are not a fun thing to encounter, being vigilant is easy. Don’t hesitate to spend time outdoors this summer and enjoy all that nature has to offer.

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