Lyme disease and Lyme Rash
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 25,000 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease were reported in 2016, and some years confirmed cases are even higher. That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg because Lyme Disease is only one of many different illnesses caused by different varieties of ticks across the U.S.
Diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babeseosis, and Powassan Disease are just a few of the possible illnesses that can afflict humans who are unlucky enough to be bitten by a tick. Here in the Northeast, one of the worst ticks is the blacklegged (aka “deer) tick, which is particularly tiny and hard to detect until it’s attached itself and begun feeding on your blood! The Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, unfortunately, report an extremely heavy incidence of tick-borne illnesses, as opposed to other areas of the country where there are many fewer cases reported. Most reported cases occur during the spring and summer months, although it’s still possible to be bitten by ticks in the fall.
What to Look Out For
Sometimes, you’ll find a tick that’s embedded itself in your skin, but since they release their grip and fall off once they’ve had their fill, you may not know you’ve been bitten until you notice a rash, or a red bulls-eye ring around an area.
Removing an Embedded Tick
If you do find a tick that’s still embedded in your skin, you can remove it by simply plucking out with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, according to the CDC. (Grasp the tick with the tweezers as close to skin-level as possible and pull straight up and out.) Afterwards, wash the area with soap and water and/or alcohol. Dispose of the live tick by flushing it down the toilet or dunking it in some rubbing alcohol. Do NOT try to “squish” it between your fingers! The CDC also warns against following “folklore” or old wives’ tale remedies such as coating the embedded tick with petroleum jelly. The simple tweezer removal technique is the best way to remove an embedded tick, they say.
Monitor the Bite
If you notice a rash consistent with Lyme disease or a Lyme rash around the bite or in the same area as the bite, or the telltale red bulls-eye, or come down with flu-like symptoms, get yourself to an urgent care center as soon as possible, where a physician can examine the bite and prescribe a course of antibiotics. The sooner you treat a suspicious tick bite, the better chance you’ll have to avoid developing a serious tick-borne illness.
In the Highland, New York region, visit us at FirstCare Walk-In Medical Center for tick bite concerns or any other urgent care issue you may have!