Bitten by a Tick? How to Know

For most people, mosquito bites show up as small, pinkish-red welts on the skin that may be circular or oval-shaped. A mosquito bite might itch a little for a short time, or it might itch a lot and for quite a while. Some people have stronger allergic reactions to mosquito bites, so their welts might be large and swollen. Also, bites may be red all over or red around the edges but paler in the center of the welt.

Ticks don’t fly or jump but climb onto your body by grasping on to low plants, foliage, logs, or other objects close to the ground with their back legs and then reaching out with their front legs to grab onto your shoes, pants, or skin.

The characteristic bullseye rash for Lyme disease | Innatoss

Bullseye rash

The characteristic bullseye rash for Lyme disease | Innatoss

After a tick bite, a small swelling or spot with in the middle a red dot where the tick used to be can be seen on the skin. This is not the bullseye rash or the ‘erythema migrans’ that people mean when they are talking about Lyme disease. Almost everyone gets this type of skin irritation, comparable to a mosquito bite.

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How to recognize a bullseye rash

If mosquitoes are reproducing inside your home, this means they have access to water somewhere. For example, there may be standing water in your potted plants, in a sink with a leaky faucet or even in your pet’s water bowl. Mosquitoes have even been known to breed inside toilet tanks, if they can get access to them! If they aren’t reproducing indoors but they are biting and bothering you inside, that means they’re getting in somewhere from the outside.

Despite the prevalence of ticks and the exposure they’ve garnered in the news, many people are still in the dark about tick-borne diseases. The CDC reports that a national survey shows that 20 percent of people living in an area where Lyme disease is common were not aware of the risks. And those risks are substantial. “Somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of blacklegged ticks carry Lyme,” says Richard Ostfeld, PhD, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York.

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Does this look like a bullseye rash to anyone? I'm not really sure. : Lyme

An EM, however, is a red skin rash in the form of a circle or spot, which grows in the course of weeks or months. About half of the patients get such a red circular rash when they have contracted Lyme disease, which means that the other half doesn’t get the characteristically bullseye rash!

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Even be careful when this typical Lyme disease rash doesn’t appear

The problem with these traps is that they only kill off some mosquitoes. Typically, this is not an efficient way to deal with these pests. If you have a big mosquito problem, a do-it-yourself trap can’t kill enough mosquitoes to make a difference. A better approach to the problem is getting rid of anything inside your home that is attracting mosquitoes in the first place.

Here’s a primer on the best ways to avoid ticks, how to identify their bites, and what to do about a bite if one is discovered.

How To Tell Tick Bites From Mosquito Bites

“Every blood-feeding arthropod and insect introduces saliva into the wound,” explains Jonathan Day, PhD, an emeritus professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida. In the case of mosquitoes and some other biting insects, this saliva contains proteins that prevent the bite wound from clotting, which would slow the outflow of blood and therefore disrupt feeding, Dr. Day explains.

While tick bites don’t immediately itch like other bug bites, they can still cause a red welt or itchy lesion to rise on the skin after the tick has dropped away, Ostfeld says.

It’s warm out and you’ve been spending time outdoors. Then, you find a red, itchy welt somewhere on your skin. Could it be a bite from a mosquito or even a tick? Since ticks can cause serious illnesses like Lyme disease, it’s important to know how to tell tick bites from mosquito bites. Of course, mosquitoes have also been known to carry diseases that can make humans sick, such as the West Nile virus and the Zika virus.

Bitten by a Tick? How to Know

Bullseye Rashes: Ringworm and Lyme Disease Differences | HealDove

Tick bites look very distinct from mosquito bites. For one, ticks often stay attached to their host for several days at a time. So, one easy sign that you have a tick bite is if you can see the tick itself attached to your skin. While some people may not experience any reactions to tick bites, others might have a small red lump on their skin. This lump may become swollen, itchy or turn into a blister.

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What To Do if You Find a Tick on You

In 2021, an estimated 476,000 Americans were diagnosed with Lyme disease, and the number of Lyme disease cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more than quadrupled since 1990. (1) While it’s not clear what’s causing the upswing in tick populations and bite-related infections, ticks have been expanding their geographic range.

If they go undetected, young tick larvae and nymphs might hold on and feed for several days, while adult ticks can hold on for a week or longer, feeding all the while. This is why it’s a very good idea to check your whole body for ticks if you have been in an area that is known for these pests.

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