Ticks are small spiders that can spread disease to both humans and animals. Mostly active in the spring, summer and autumn, they come to life as the snow thaws and temperatures rise.
Most tick bites are harmless, but every third tick carries the Borrelia bacterium, which is also transmitted to humans. Ticks Borrelia is treated with antibiotics.
There are also other tick-borne diseases, such as TBE (Tick-borne encephalitis) and Babesiosis, but these are less common.
APPOTEK can help advise you in the event of a tick bite and connect you with a doctor if necessary.
If you are bitten by a tick, you may see symptoms of Lyme disease after a few days, often in the form of redness around the bite. But it can take a month or longer for symptoms to develop.
Headaches, fatigue and fever, as well as joint and muscle pain, are common symptoms, making it difficult to determine if you are suffering from a tick bite or another illness.
You can have Borreliosis even if you have not had a rash. Conversely, you can also get a small swelling or redness of the skin where there has been a tick, without getting Borreliosis. A tick bite that itches is sometimes just a normal skin reaction, as after any insect bite.
Different forms of Borreliosis cause different symptoms:
- Redness with light red ring – erythema migrans
This is the most common reaction to tick-borne bacteria. Many people get rashes in the form of a bright red ring where the tick bite occurred, which can also itch and affect sensation in the area. The redness gradually changes and slowly grows larger. Symptoms start to show from a few days up to 4 weeks after the tick bite. This form of Borreliosis affects both children and adults.
- Blue red tubercle – lymphocytoma
Lymphocytoma can cause trouble shortly after the tick bite. This leads to the appearance of a blue-red swelling or lump that often sits on the earlobe or nipple. Inflammation mainly affects children.
- Nervous System Infection –
Neuroborreliosis is a central nervous system infection that usually appears a few weeks after a tick bite, sometimes up to three months later. Symptoms include headache, muscle pain and fatigue. More unusual is loss of sensation and facial paralysis. The infection affects children more often than adults.
- Purple skin lesions – akrodermatit
Akrodermatit is a rare, chronic skin inflammation that can occur months or years after a tick bite, usually on the shin or foot. Blue-red spots grow slowly as the skin becomes thin and wrinkled. Other symptoms may include pain in the joints, legs and back. Inflammation mainly affects the elderly.
Prevention and Protection
There is no vaccine for Lyme disease. To protect yourself from tick bites, you can wear clothes with long sleeves and legs when out in woods or parks. Ticks are often found in tall grass. The risk of Borreliosis increases if the tick is stuck for more than 24 hours, so it is important to check your body and remove ticks as soon as possible.
If possible, go to the doctor as soon as you see a tick on your body. The doctor will not only remove the parasite and treat the skin, but also immediately send the tick for analysis.
If you cannot see a doctor, remove the tick by yourself.
To safely get rid of the parasite, you will need:
- Latex or rubber gloves or a regular plastic bag. You need to protect your skin in case you accidentally crush a tick or its saliva gets on you, as you can be infected via the slightest wound.
- Disinfectant and cotton wool to treat the wound. Alcohol, chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide or iodine solution are suitable.
- Tweezers with thin tips, tick picker or piece of thread.
Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it upwards so the whole tick follows. Then wash your hands with soap and wipe the bite location with disinfectant.
When to consult a doctor
After a tick bite, you should always seek help from a doctor, even if you removed the parasite by yourself.
If you get a red ring that grows and approaches five centimeters in diameter, you should seek immediate help. If you feel unusually tired, have a fever, headache or pain in the joints and muscles, you should contact your healthcare provider – even if it has been several weeks and even if you are unsure you have been bitten.
However, if the redness is small or disappears by itself after a few days, you do not need to contact your healthcare provider.
Contact an emergency room if you have a headache after a tick bite, are stiff in the neck, have a loss of sensation or suffer from facial paralysis.
How APPOTEK can help
You can contact us at APPOTEK to get help with Borreliosis. A nurse or physician will make an individual assessment based on your symptoms and anything relevant that emerges during the care appointment. You can then be prescribed treatment or referred for further treatment.
However, always contact the emergency room if you have a headache after a tick bite, are stiff in the neck, have a loss of sensation or suffer from facial paralysis.