Don’t Panic If You Get Bit By A Tick. Here Are 5 Tips To Minimize Lyme …

It’s not always easy to tell. “Tick and other insect bites can look similar,” says Griffin Dill, Ph.D., coordinator of the Cooperative Extension: Tick Lab at The University of Maine. “Without finding a tick attached and feeding, it’s hard to differentiate one bite site from another,” he says.

A tick bite right after a tick was pulled from the skin, with some still stuck insde. CREDIT: KitAy / Flickr

What Does a Tick Bite Look Like?

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Tick bites sometimes come with a small puncture mark, where the tick embedded itself into your skin to feed. You might see a small, crusty, dry scab form around this puncture. For an uninfected tick bite (in which no harmful bacteria or disease-causing microorganisms were transmitted), the amount of scabbing is typically pretty minimal and goes away within a few days. It’s part of the normal wound-healing process, and is more apparent when you’ve been bitten by a large tick.

The signs of a tick bite actually vary from person to person, since everyone’s immune system reacts differently to them, explains Thomas Mather, Ph.D., director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and Tick Encounter Resource Center. While someone may have a small, red bump after the tick detaches, others may develop an area of redness and itchiness.

After the tick has detached itself, however, it’s a bit harder to tell. Tick bites can have several different appearances, depending on the type of tick that bit you as well as your own body’s reaction to the bite. Most people have a localized skin reaction around the bite, leading to redness or mild swelling. Usually the size of the redness is no bigger than the size of a dime. In some cases, certain people might develop allergic reactions to tick bites, which may lead to more significant swelling, redness, skin rashes, itchiness, and other symptoms. Many people associate tick bites with the characteristic “bullseye” rash from Lyme disease, but in fact not all tick bites cause Lyme. We’ll talk about what some of these tick-borne diseases look like later in this article.

What Does a Tick Bite Look Like? These Pictures Can Help You Identify One

Tick Bite Pictures & Symptoms

You can find a tick bite anywhere. However, “although they can and do attach to any part of the body, there are certain body parts they more commonly move toward, like the hairline, or in tucked-away places, like the armpits, groin, and behind knees,” says Dill. That’s because ticks have heat sensors that allow them to seek out warmer, moist places. Recently, doctors even discovered a tick attached to a 9-year-old boy’s eardrum.

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That said, a spider bite has a certain look. “Spider bites are more distinct and leave two equally spaced dots,” Dr. Rodney says. “These bites also tend to be more round and have some redness and irritation.” And, since there are different types of spiders out there, the bites can look slightly different.

Your best bet is to find the tick while it’s still on your skin. “Ticks are designed to linger when they attach and bite,” says Mather. The mouth of a tick contains a bunch of backward-pointing barbs that they use to stay put, meaning they are “designed to lock and load,” as Mather puts it. The biters also secrete a cement-like substance around their mouths to keep them stuck even if they were to be, say, absentmindedly scratched at.

Spending time outdoors raises your risk of getting an insect bite, but, of course, there are a lot of critters out there. If you’ve spent time in a wooded or brushy area lately, it’s understandable to wonder if that newly-acquired mark on your skin could be a tick bite. But…what does a tick bite look like?

What Do Tick Bites Look Like

Pictures of Tick Bites, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

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What does a tick bite look like, exactly?

If you’ve been previously bitten, there’s a greater chance you will have an allergic reaction to the tick saliva within 20 to 40 hours of the bite, says Mather. After a bite, the area may appear as a small red spot that doesn’t expand to be larger than a dime. However, more severe reactions can occur, and rashes can develop. Because tick bite signs vary wildly and can mimic the appearance of other insects, even tick experts can’t always tell one red mark from another.

But, if the bug has left the premises, Dr. Rodney says that these are signs you’re dealing with a mosquito bite:

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