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Category: Safety Information

Understanding Tick Bites: When to Seek Medical Treatment

Summer brings outdoor adventures, but it also brings the risk of tick bites. These tiny arachnids can pose significant health risks if not managed properly. Here's what you need to know about tick bites, the potential dangers, and when to seek medical attention. 

Tick bites can transmit various illnesses, the most notable being Lyme disease. Other diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. These infections can cause severe health issues if left untreated. In most cases, the tick must be attached to your skin for at least 24 hours before Lyme disease bacteria can be transmitted. But it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms that can indicate tick-borne disease. 

When to Be Concerned 

Not all tick bites result in illness, but it's crucial to be vigilant. Here are some signs that a tick bite may be a cause for concern: 

  • A rash has appeared. Especially a bull's-eye rash, which is a common early sign of Lyme disease.

  • You’re experiencing fever and chills. Flu-like symptoms can indicate an infection. 

  • You have an unexplained headache, fatigue, and muscle or joint pain. These symptoms might suggest a tick-borne illness. 

  • There is redness or swelling at the bite site. This could be a sign of infection or allergic reaction. 

When to Seek Medical Treatment 

While many tick bites can be managed at home, seek medical treatment if: 

  • The tick was attached for more than 24 hours. The risk of disease transmission increases significantly. 

  • Symptoms have developed. Any signs of illness, such as those mentioned above, warrant a doctor's visit. 

  • You cannot fully remove the tick. If parts of the tick remain embedded in your skin, professional removal is necessary. 

  • The bite site becomes infected. Redness, swelling, pain, or pus indicate an infection that needs medical attention. 

Awareness and prompt action can minimize the risks associated with tick bites. If you suspect tick-borne disease after being bitten or are experiencing symptoms listed above, CaroMont Urgent Care locations have extended and weekend hours to assist you in assessing the risk and getting the care you need, when you need it. Find a location near you.