Deer ticks carry various disease causing organisms and can transmit them to humans via deer tick bites. Hence, a deer tick bite is a cause for great worry. As soon as there is a deer tick bite, the affected person can carefully remove the attached tick from the body and immediately visit a doctor for evaluation and prevention of the onset of different diseases.
Causes of deer tick bites
Deer ticks bites are caused by deer ticks that are very tiny insects that bloat when fully satiated with blood meals. Deer ticks are also known as blacklegged ticks and can generally be found to be feeding on the white tailed deer. These ticks are often wrongly identified as brown ticks. Deer ticks are different from other kinds of ticks and their mouthparts are usually longer as compared to other types of ticks. Also, adult deer ticks have a shield over their mouth that looks like a dark spot. They are of orange-brown color which can alter to a rust-like or brownish-red color after a blood meal.
Deer ticks are not as big as dog ticks and generally attach to big mammals such as domestic animals, livestock and humans for feeding sessions. They can be found on the leaves of shrubs or blades of grass in wooded areas and can latch on the fur of animals of garments of humans that venture into such area. After this deer ticks settle in areas of skin folds such as the knee hollows or the armpits, to suck on blood and cause deer tick bites. All deer ticks have the capacity to suck blood for 2 to 3 days, while the female deer ticks can feast for up to five days.
Symptoms of deer tick bite
- Deer tick bites are not easily noticeable as the bites do not cause any pain. Once the deer tick has had its fill of blood and the feeding session is over, it will fall off leaving a deer tick bite mark and swollen, reddish skin that if itchy along with burning sensations.
- The deer tick bite is similar to a mosquito bite. Hence, the detection of such a deer tick bite is generally not given much attention, in the early stages. On occasions, a characteristic red ring will form around the deer tick bite which clearly differentiates it from other insect bites.
- The symptoms of diseases transferred by the deer tick bite are usually detected after many days or weeks. Since deer tick bites can result in transmission of dangerous illnesses, an affected person may tend to become anxious after the appearance of symptoms. However, one may note that deer tick bites should not be a cause of worry and can be easily treated.
- One needs to consult a doctor, if a rash or fever appears after a deer tick bite. The appearance of a rash that looks like a bulls-eye, at the site of the deer tick bite, indicates a possibility of Lyme disease. In this case, immediate medical attention is necessary.
- A deer tick bite may sometimes not cause a rash or fever or any other symptoms; or there may be universal symptoms of illnesses such as breathlessness, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, enlargement of lymph nodes, swelling or inflammation of the joints, etc.
Deer tick bite treatment
- Individuals who work in the outdoors or like to spend their free time in the outdoors are more susceptible to deer tick bites. The peak season for deer ticks to thrive and flourish is October-November. Hence, one should be careful when outdoors during this season.
- When there is a deer tick bite, it is important for the affected person to remove the tick as soon as possible, because the longer the deer tick is hooked to the body of the host, the greater are the chances of transmission of diseases. After the removal of the deer tick, one needs to wash the area with soap and water.
- Removing the deer tick from the skin:
- One should not panic when one detects a deer tick biting on one’s skin.
- Do not use fingers to remove the tick. Do not use alcohol or petroleum jelly to aid the removal of the deer tick, as it will cause it to vomit out the organisms into the blood. Cold or hot spoons will also be of no use
- At the time of feeding, the deer tick has its mouth inside the skin with its mouth parts clawing away at the skin. Hence, it should only be removed with the aid of tweezers. While removing the deer tick, ensure not to squeeze or crush it, but carefully remove the tick in its entirety.
- The deer tick thus removed should be put in a jar filled with alcohol and sent to the lab for analysis. The site of the deer tick bite should be checked for any remains of the tick and then washed with an antiseptic soap and water. A visit to a doctor is absolutely essential in case of symptoms such as chills, rash, fever, etc.
- It is best to visit a doctor for removal of a deer tick from the hair.
- One can prevent deer tick bites by wearing adequate clothing when outdoors and constantly checking for the presence of ticks on exposed skin or clothes. One can also apply eucalyptus oil on the exposed skin to prevent contact with deer ticks.
Deer tick pictures