Ticks are arachnids, not insects, that take a deep dive into a host and get lost for days—up to 10 to be precise. People (or animals) can end up with ticks after taking an enjoyable stroll in the park, or sometimes your backyard can lead to a hitchhiker making a meal of your legs. If you’re not careful, you or your pets could host multiple ticks at one time. In fact, white-footed mice can have up to 10 to 20 ticks on them daily during the peak season, which is from May to September.
So, what should you watch for after a tick bites you, and where should you check on your body for one? Below are a few places and things you should specifically look for when returning inside from the great outdoors.
Where Can I Find a Tick on Me?
The two-year life cycle of a tick consists of four stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and lastly, an adult. Ticks wait patiently with two of their legs high in the air, like a child waiting to be picked up, for a host to walk by for a meal. Ticks migrate to specific areas on your body after you have brushed up against their perching location.
Ticks’ preferred locations are warm and moist areas on the body, such as the armpits, groin, behind the knee, the scalp, elbows, behind the ears, behind the neck, and other dark places. Once you return indoors, immediately wash your clothes and take a hot shower, making sure to check every inch of your body. Washing your clothes in hot water can eliminate any tick that may have attached itself to your clothing. If you do come across a tick, you can remove it by using tweezers.
What to Check for After a Tick Bite
In every state within the U.S., there is at least one species of ticks that are as small as a poppy seed. If a tick bites you, most symptoms include:
- A red spot or rash near the bite site
- Burning sensation at the bite
- Full-body rash
- Neck stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Joint pain, or achiness
Source: Pacific Animal Hospital
When Should You Visit the Doctor?
To be on the safe side, you should always visit a physician after the removal of a tick if you experience any swelling, arthritis, nerve pain, or short-term memory loss. The quicker you can receive a diagnosis, the better.
If you would like to learn more about ticks, read our previous blogs about the dangers of tick bites, along with the symptoms that may occur. Symptoms can take anywhere between 3 to 7 days from the time of infection. Always consult a doctor if you have any concerns.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants tucked into socks when outdoors in wooded areas
- Apply insect repellant containing 20 percent DEET to both skin and clothing
- Wear enclosed shoes when outdoors
- Tie up long hair when in wooded or grassy areas
- Check for ticks after being outdoors
- Shower as soon as possible after being outdoors in case a tick is attached to the skin
- Consider wearing light-colored clothing when hiking or hunting, to make it easier to spot a tick crawling on you
Mosquito Squad can protect your yard from ticks and their diseases. Contact your local Squad today!