Tick Bites and Tick Borne Diseases

Ticks may seem like an unavoidable part of Arkansas life, especially in the summer. Unfortunately, tick bites can have health consequences. How can you avoid these negative consequences?

The dangers of tick bites

Ticks can carry viruses, bacteria, and parasites. They are implicated in quite a few diseases, including these:

  • Lyme disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Powassan (POW)
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Tularemia

How can you tell if you might have a tick-born disease? Common symptoms:

  • Fevers and chills
  • Aches and pains
  • Rash

If you have these symptoms and you know you’ve been bitten by a tick,  you should visit with your doctor to find out whether you might have a tick-borne disease. Lab tests as well as information about the location where you might have been bitten can help you know for sure. 

How to avoid tick-borne diseases

The best way to avoid these diseases is to avoid getting bitten by ticks. Click through to find some strategies for avoiding bites in the first place. 

Preventing Tick and Mosquito Bites

If you still get bitten, use a clean pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grasp it as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight out without twisting. Twisting the tick can cause the mouth parts to break off in the skin. 

Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that the mouth parts break off in the skin, even if you are very careful. Try to remove the mouth parts as well. if you can’t, just leave them behind and allow the bite to heal. 

What should you do with the tick? You can flush it down the toilet or seal it in a Ziplock bag and throw it away. Don’t squash it with your fingers. 

Clean the site of the bite and wash your hands with soap and water. You can also use alcohol to clean the bite. 

When to contact a doctor

If the tick bite becomes infected, or if you develop flu-like symptoms or a rash, check in with your family doctor


Image courtesy of Canva.