Tick Bites: What Are They, How Can You Prevent Them, and What to Do If You Get One
- by Andrea Nunez
Tick bites can often seem relatively harmless, presenting themselves as a small, painless red lump. However, ticks are like mosquitos in that they do far more damage with the diseases they transmit, rather than the wounds they inflict. Read on to find out how to identify a tick bite, where ticks are commonly found, and what to do if yourself or your dog gets a tick bite.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are very small creatures that are similar in appearance to spiders. They feed on the blood of both birds and mammals, including humans. They can be anywhere between 1mm and 1cm long depending on their age and how much blood they have drunk, and have either six or eight legs. They commonly spread diseases such as Lyme disease, which causes flu-like symptoms, a rash, nervous system problems, joint pain and memory problems.
Where Are Ticks Found?
Ticks are generally found anywhere where there is wildlife, for example in woodland and grasses. Unlike fleas, they do not jump onto passing animals but rather climb up on to them from surrounding vegetation.
Different types of tick will live in different habitats, but they are widely found across the United States and Europe in wooded and grass areas, dense vegetation and gardens in wood piles or overgrown areas.
Are Ticks More Common in Rural Areas or Cities?
Ticks are common in both rural areas of unkempt woodland and marshland, and in maintained city parks. However, the greater amount of untouched wilderness in rural areas makes for a better feeding ground for ticks, who climb on to all sorts of birds, mammals, and occasionally reptiles.
How Can I Avoid Ticks?
The best ways to avoid tick bites are to avoid walking in long grass by sticking to well-trodden trails, wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers and use insect repellent. Keep your dog on a leash in areas where ticks are common. You can use our vegan leather dog leashes by Nina Woof.
After a long walk you should check your skin and clothes for ticks, along with the fur of your dog if you have been walking them in a grassy area.
What Should I Do If I Get Bitten by a Tick?
If you have been bitten by a tick and the tick is still in you, the first thing you need to do is remove it in order to reduce the chances of getting a disease or infection. Use tweezers as close to the skin as possible to gently scrape and pull the tick out of your skin, being careful not to break it and leave parts behind under your skin. Then clean the area thoroughly and apply an antiseptic cream.
What Should I Do If My Dog Gets Bitten by a Tick?
Tick bites on dogs are much more difficult to spot than in humans, because they bury themselves in fur and are often not visible from a distance. Ticks may be very small when they initially latch on to your pet, and then increase in size as they feed on the blood.
If your dog has a tick bite you should remove the tick as soon as possible in order to prevent your dog from contracting a disease such as Lyme disease. If the dog shows any of the following symptoms, which are commonly associated with Lyme disease, then you should speak to your vet.
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
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