Tick Bite

What Diseases are Caused by Tick Bites?

Ticks are small insects that feed on blood. Although the bites themselves do not hurt, ticks can carry bacteria and viruses that cause diseases.

Lyme disease tick
Ixodes tick that can spread lyme disease.

Two diseases that are commonly spread by ticks in the United States are:

  • Lyme disease
    The symptoms of lyme disease are red circles on the skin with clear center (resembling a target or bull's eye).

  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
    The symptoms of this disease are a rash that start on the palm and soles of the feet, which then spread to the rest of the body.
Rash caused by Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Spotted rash found due to Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Prevention of Tick Bites

You can avoid tick bites by:

  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and long pants. Tuck the pants into socks or boots to avoid ticks crawling up the pantlegs.
  • Using insect repellent with DEET on exposed skin
  • Avoid grassy fields and wooded areas where ticks live
  • Upon returning from tick-infested areas, inspect your body and remove ticks if present

Lyme disease and especially Rocky Mountain spotted fever are serious diseases that require immediate medical attention.

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