Actions with a tick bite. Human infection with tick-borne encephalitis occurs through the bite of an infected tick. Ticks bite thousands of people each year, but only some of the victims develop serious illnesses, such as encephalitis or borreliosis. The danger of a tick bite is that insects carry many different diseases, which will be discussed below. A tick bite does not mean that a person will get tick-borne encephalitis and / or borreliosis, as well as other diseases. Once on the body, the tick does not bite right away. It may take several hours before the tick is sucked. If the tick is noticed on time, then the bite can be avoided. It happens that a person gets a tick bite while at home, a tick can get into the house by arriving on the back of your beloved animal: a dog or cat. You returned from a forest walk - and here he is, a tick hanging on his hand. Let's figure out what to do. If your region is safe for encephalitis, do not take lightly a tick bite. The presence of a pathogen in a tick does not mean at all that a bitten person will get encephalitis or borreliosis. Female ticks can suck blood for about 6-10 days, reaching a length of 11 mm.
What should I do if bitten by a tick
If the tick suction does occur, an initial consultation can always be obtained by calling 03.
To remove the tick, you will most likely be sent to a regional SES or a regional emergency room.
If you do not have the opportunity to seek help at a medical facility, then the tick will have to be removed independently.
It should be borne in mind that the likelihood of contracting tick-borne encephalitis, tick-borne borreliosis and other infections transmitted by ticks depends on the amount of infection that got during a tick’s “bite” (that is, the time that the tick remained in a sucked state) - the earlier you remove the gnawing the parasite is better.
It is convenient to remove ticks with curved tweezers or a surgical clamp, in principle, any other tweezers will do. In this case, the tick needs to be captured as close to the proboscis as possible, then it is gently pulled, while rotating around its axis in a convenient direction. Usually after 1-3 turns, the tick is removed as a whole with the proboscis. If you try to pull out the tick, then the probability of its rupture is high.
Tick Bite Signs
Besides the visual presence of the parasite, what is the very first sign of a bite? Often the place of suction makes itself felt aching, itching, although the tick bite itself is painless. Favorite tick sites on the human body are:
- scalp (especially behind the ears),
- axillary zone
- chest area
- back (under the shoulder blades),
- inner thighs
- groin area,
- the area under the patella.
It is in these zones that the skin is the most delicate and delicate, rich in capillaries. In medical practice, there have been cases when bloodsuckers crawled into intimate places - the genitals.
The following symptoms may appear within 2-3 hours after a tick bite:
- temperature rise,
- labored breathing,
- weakness and drowsiness,
- joint aches,
- nausea, vomiting.
Tick Removal Methods
A person bitten by a tick should immediately contact a medical institution (doctor on duty, emergency room), where specialists will not only remove the bloodsucker, but also prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Remember, it is impossible to tighten with the removal of the tick. Even if it is an ordinary, that is, not an encephalitic tick, the site of the bite can become very inflamed and fester.
At home, the tick can be removed in several ways. Special tools (twists, hooks, lasso) sold in pharmacies or specialized stores will come to the rescue.
If you don’t have such tools at hand, you can use an ordinary, but strong thread, from which you need to make a loop and put on a tick closer to the proboscis, and then tighten it according to the example of a lasso. Slowly and accurately, avoiding sudden movements, so as not to tear the tick, swing and pull it up perpendicular to the skin surface. Be sure to treat the wound with an alcohol solution, iodine, brilliant green, cologne.
If the head remains in the wound, then after additional disinfection it should be pulled out using a regular sewing needle. This micro-operation resembles the pulling of a splinter familiar from childhood. The needle must be sterile (it must be wiped with alcohol or calcined in a flame).
You can also get rid of the tick with the help of ordinary tweezers, which should also be located as close as possible to the parasite head. The movements must be rotational. 2-3 turns are enough to extract.
A bloodsucker, if it is on the surface of the skin, can be pulled out with your fingers. But before that you need to wrap them with gauze or a piece of bandage, tightly grab the body of the tick and rotate counterclockwise.
It was previously believed that the tick can be easily removed by lubricating the bite with vegetable oil. In no case should this be done: oil clogs the breathing holes, the tick becomes motionless, and it is not possible to pull it out. But an alcoholic solution of iodine can play a good role: if the tick has sucked up relatively recently, it must be literally sprayed with iodine and it will creep out on its own, plus it will be a good disinfection.
The place of the tick bite can cause concern for some time - itching, itching and even inflame. In such cases, it is necessary to drink antiallergic drugs. A small spot of a pinkish tint usually disappears at the site of a tick bite, which disappears without a trace after a few days.
They got rid of the parasite, what to do next?
A dead tick needs to be burned. Live within 2 days, you can send to the microbiological laboratory for further research by placing it on a wet cotton wool in a jar or vial with a tight-fitting lid. Research is usually paid.
Today, the most dangerous of the existing infectious diseases are 12. But the most common are 2:
If you coped with the parasite yourself, be sure to contact the hospital, where on the 10th day after the tick attack, you can take a blood test for encephalitis, and for borreliosis - only after 3-4 weeks. 2 weeks after the tests, blood is already donated for antibodies.
It is not allowed to treat a tick bite on its own. The fact is that the causative agents of encephalitis are arboviruses, therefore, treatment after a tick bite is carried out by antiviral drugs. Borreliosis (Lyme disease) is a bacterial infection caused by spirochete of the genus Borrelia. After diagnosing this disease, the doctor prescribes antibacterial drugs. Treatment is carried out strictly in a hospital.
Naturally, a tick bite does not mean that you can immediately become infected with these diseases, but everyone should know about the main symptoms and the danger that threatens in case of a possible infection.
Tick-borne encephalitis: danger and treatment
This severe infectious natural focal disease is found mainly in the regions of Siberia and the Far East, since it is there that the percentage of deaths is high. For people living in potentially dangerous areas, and workers whose activities are directly related to regular visits to forests (foresters, biologists, etc.), encephalitis is vaccinated.
The virus infects the brain, spinal cord, causing inflammation, and leads to paralysis and mental retardation.
The incubation period lasts 1-3 weeks. The main initial symptoms in adults:
- rapid increase in body temperature to 40 ° C,
- headaches and lumbar pains,
- muscle aches, cramps,
- cutting pain in eyes and photophobia,
- rapid breathing
- nausea and vomiting,
- plaque in the tongue.
In children bitten by an encephalitis tick, the symptoms are similar, but they proceed brighter and faster than in adults. Seizures, paralysis of the arms and legs, loss of consciousness, skin rash may be added to the above.
Currently, 5 clinical forms of the disease are distinguished:
The most common is the meningeal form. Accompanied by severe headaches, lasts 1-2 weeks with a favorable outcome.
In the spring-summer period, in city and district hospitals there is a sufficient supply of immunoglobulin for children and adults. Intravenous or intramuscular administration of this drug (emergency prevention of tick-borne encephalitis on the 1st day after a tick bite) is prescribed and carried out only by a doctor.
In our country, antiviral drugs such as “Iodantipirin” (adults and children over 14 years old) and “Anaferon” (children under 14 years old) are used to treat encephalitis. Cycloferon, Arbidol and Remantadine are also prescribed. The patient needs bed rest, plentiful nutrition, rich in proteins, and vitamins (group B). Treatment is carried out strictly in the infectious diseases hospital. In the long recovery period, therapeutic massage and physical education are indicated.
What is the insidiousness and danger of borreliosis
Borreliosis (Lyme disease) is an insidious disease, as it tends to disguise itself as other diseases. Spirochete borrelia, once in the body, may lurk and not manifest itself for years, so the disease becomes chronic with periodic relapses. The disease affects the musculoskeletal system (especially the joints), the skin, nervous system and heart, can lead to disability.
The main symptom, marker, is a red migrating erythema, measuring 3 cm or more, appearing at the site of the bite. This red spot with a lighter center gives unpleasant pain, itches, flakes, and then heals. The temperature rises, the lymph nodes increase in size, a red rash spreads across the face in the likeness of a urticaria, and headaches are tormented.
At stage 2, pain in the muscles and along the nerve fibers appear, the heart rate goes astray. In children, vision and hearing are impaired, asymmetry of the face develops, and mental retardation.
At stage 3, in the absence of proper treatment, severe damage to the nervous system, multiple sclerosis, polyarthritis (an inflammatory joint disease), and dermatitis up to skin atrophy are observed.
A patient with suspected borreliosis, as in the case of tick-borne encephalitis, is immediately hospitalized in a hospital, where he is provided with complex therapy, including treatment and restoration of damaged organ systems.
Adults and children over 8 years of age are given emergency prophylaxis with Doxycycline (the doctor prescribes the dose).
More successfully Lyme disease is treated in stage 1. Prescribe tetracycline antibiotics orally. In moderate and severe cases of the disease, when the nervous and cardiac systems are already affected, cephalosporins (Ceftriaxone, Cefobid, Cefoperazone) and benzylpenicillin are administered by intramuscular and intravenous injection.
In cases where medications are not suitable, or allergic reactions develop, “Levomycetin” and “Clarithromycin” are used. Erythromycin and Sumamed may be prescribed.
For the treatment of arthritis of the joints, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, procedures in the physiotherapist are prescribed. To reduce the risk of allergies, antihistamines are used. A recovering patient needs to strengthen immunity.
Human health is a valuable, but unfortunately exhaustible resource. It should be treated carefully, without relying on the Russian "maybe". If a tick has attacked you, do not panic, you can pull it out yourself, according to the described recommendations, but you must make a visit to the hospital at the place of residence.
Any disease is easier to prevent than to cure. Therefore, it is important for adults and children to observe safety measures when visiting forests, parks and squares. Avoid areas overgrown with dry vegetation, wear clothing that is tight to the body (ticks cannot bite through dense tissues), hats, and inspect each other. Ointments and aerosols with insect-acaricidal action should be your indispensable companions during your stay in nature.
These individuals do not differ in aggressiveness, but they can bring harm. Among them:
- Argasum Mites. They live in burrows, caves, cracks. They can settle in the crevices of village houses, attack people at night, but episodes and daytime attacks are recorded. They are the causative agents of various infections: hemorrhagic fever or relapsing fever. The infection is transmitted quickly, within a minute, the disease progresses rapidly. If you are bitten by a tick of this type, you should immediately seek the advice of a medical institution.
- Gas mite. Mostly the birds bite, but if there are none nearby, they can attack people. Live in chicken coops or bird nests.
- Subcutaneous tick. This tick on the human body can live for a long time, while not betraying itself. It feeds on obsolete cells. But with a decrease in immunity, they are able to penetrate deeply under the skin, provoking various suppurations and rashes. Most often, they affect the scalp and face. You can get infected with this tick in the household way or from animals.
- Bed tick. The opinion of many people that this type of tick is capable of attacking is erroneous. Its danger lies only in the fact that it can provoke allergic diseases. It feeds on strictly obsolete skin cells, does not consume blood at all.
- Barn tick. From the name it is already clear that he lives in barns and food storages. Feeds on crops. Getting into a person’s esophagus through dirty hands or infected products, it can provoke various food poisonings.
However, the greatest harm to human health is caused by forest ticks. We will dwell on them in more detail.
Wood tick bites
They attack both animals and people, in most cases in forest plantations. However, recently ticks in the suburbs are quite common in park areas and squares. They hibernate in fallen leaves, but as soon as the snow cover is gone, they begin their hunt. The peak of activity is noted in the middle of spring, but they can attack a person and bite in the autumn period. Forest ticks are divided into two groups:
- Infected - carriers of dangerous viral diseases.
- Sterile - individuals that do not pose a danger to the human body.
The consequences of a tick bite in humans can be extremely dangerous, because these insects are carriers of many different diseases. If it enters the body, this insect may not bite right away. Sometimes several hours pass before the moment of suction.
What does a forest tick look like
A small arthropod insect resembling a small bug. Has 8 legs, the body of the tick is covered with a shell. The insect is about 4 mm long. It is very difficult for the naked eye to discern its blood-sucking parts (head and trunk), since they are very tiny.
Males are even smaller in size. A well-fed female can reach a size of the order of 2 cm, since she is able to drink blood from her victim 10 times more than her own mass, being hungry. What the tick looks like on the body can be seen in the photo in the article.
Attention! The tick has no eyes, but it is perfectly oriented in space due to the highly developed sense of touch and smell. Scientists have been able to prove that the tick is able to feel its victim, even being at a distance of about 10 m from it.
How a forest tick attacks a person
There is an erroneous opinion: if a tick bites into a person’s head or sticks on his neck, then he fell from a height, for example, from a tree under which the victim was or simply passed by him. This is far from the case, because the insect never rises above 50 cm.
The attack occurs as follows: the tick climbs to the top of the grass or low bush and sits on it in anticipation of the victim. When an animal or person passes by it, it reacts instantly: in a split second, the parasite stretches its forelegs and grabs its victim. Then the tick on the body selects the most “juicy” area, digs and cuts the skin with a proboscis, then begins to drink blood. The most vulnerable areas are the abdomen, neck, chest and ears, less often under the arm.
General information about bites
The severity of symptoms depends on the number of bites and the physique of the bitten. The bites are most difficult for old people, children, people suffering from chronic diseases, allergies.
The main symptoms of a bite:
- Body temperature rises.
- Headache appears.
- In some cases, itching may appear.
- Blood pressure decreases.
- The heartbeat is quickening.
- A rash appears on the skin.
- Lymph nodes increase.
- There is a general weakness.
The consequences of a tick bite in humans depend on the type of insect: infected (encephalitis) or sterile (uninfected). Much more dangerous is the bite of an encephalitis tick. Symptoms are very severe and extremely dangerous:
- Respiratory arrest.
- Cessation of brain activity.
If the victim was bitten by an uninfected tick, diseases that can occur are of a slightly different nature:
- Suppuration of bite sites.
- Allergies of various kinds.
- Swelling up to Quincke swelling.
It’s impossible to understand which tick has sucked in.
Important! If you are bitten by a tick, early treatment will help protect yourself from more dangerous diseases.
Tick bites: how they look
Insect saliva contains a biologically active substance that has anesthetic effect, so a person may not even suspect in the first hours that a tick has bitten him. Only after this time the first symptoms can begin to appear.
The site of damage with a bite of a sterile tick: redness and swelling of the tissues, which disappears within a few days. This is the response of the body to the introduction of the parasite and its saliva.
The site of a tick bite of an infected: redness of the skin and swelling. They do not appear immediately, but after some time. If the stain expands annularly, immediate medical attention is required. This is the first symptom of Lyme disease.
What to do with bites
A clear confirmation of the fact that a tick on a person’s body will be its detection. If the victim noticed a parasite on his body, then the first thing to do is to correctly remove it.
Remember that for the study of the parasite, as well as for the diagnosis of infection, a living individual must be provided to the laboratory.
A tick bite was detected. What to do if the general condition worsens? In this case, the patient should be given an antihistamine to drink. Better if it will be the preparations "Zirtex", "Suprastin".
How to remove a tick from the body
The insect on the human body is fixed extremely firmly. The fact is that his saliva acts as a cement composition. The proboscis adheres sufficiently firmly to the skin. Therefore, removal of the tick must occur carefully and with extreme caution. Recommendations for this procedure:
- In circular movements counterclockwise, as if twisting, remove the insect from the patient’s body with thin tweezers. Make sure that the head of the tick does not remain under the skin.
- If the extraction takes place away from home and there are no tweezers at hand, then you can use a fabric thread. She grabs the proboscis at the very surface of the skin and swings out the parasite.
- After extraction, you need to verify the integrity of the tick, place it in an airtight container and take it to the sanitary epidemiological station for examination.
- Treat the wound with any antiseptic.
Smearing the affected area with kerosene, gasoline and other liquids is not recommended. If the insect crawls out of the wound, then after that it simply may not be accepted into the laboratory.
Diseases from tick bites and their symptoms
The consequences of a tick bite in humans are diverse - from simple redness to severe and dangerous diseases:
- Encephalitis. The initial stage is very similar to the symptoms of a common cold. The incubation period can last up to 7 days. No examination can give an accurate analysis of the infection if 10 days have not passed since the bite. For an accurate diagnosis, the insect itself must be submitted for examination, but only alive.
- Lyme disease (borreliosis). This disease can form if the tick was a carrier of the spirochete virus. Symptoms may not appear immediately, but after several months, this is usually: an increase in lymph nodes and aches in the joints.
Modern medications are able to completely cure tick-borne infections with timely detection and proper therapy.
Important! Tighten with the extraction of the tick is not worth it! The longer he drinks the blood from the victim, the greater the number of pathogens that enter his body.
Signs of Encephalitis
According to experts, the symptoms of this severe and extremely dangerous disease begin to appear only after 10-14 days from the moment when a tick bite was detected in the patient. What to do? Do not panic and worry in vain. And an increase in body temperature and discomfort, especially in the muscles, can be interpreted as a protective psychological reaction to the victim's fright. The formation of the disease takes place in several stages:
- A sudden and short-term manifestation of chills, after which the body temperature rises to 40 degrees. According to the clinical picture at this stage, the signs of the formation of encephalitis are similar to an attack of influenza.
- After some time, the victim observed: nausea and vomiting, severe bouts of headache. At this stage, the symptoms resemble food poisoning.
- Within a day, the patient begins to show signs of arthritis or arthrosis. Headaches go away, they are replaced by aches in the bones and joints. Motor activity is severely limited, breathing is difficult. The skin on the face and body turns red and swells, purulent masses stand out from the lesion.
- Further, the symptoms only intensify, since at this stage the virus that has entered the patient’s blood begins its destructive activity in the body, and the consequences may become irreversible.
Therefore, if you find that a tick has stuck into the body, then you need to immediately remove the insect. This can be done independently or contact the sanitary and epidemiological station. There, doctors will be able to remove and examine it. Only laboratory analysis can determine what type of tick it is. Treatment, if it is prescribed, must be completed in full.
Important! Take any tick bite very seriously, as it can be encephalitis.
Signs of Borreliosis
This disease is diagnosed more often than encephalitis. The disease is extremely dangerous, very often proceeds in a latent form. In chronic forms, it can lead to disability. The incubation period can last from several days to a month. The process of formation of borreliosis is divided into several stages of development:
- The first stage is a localized flow. A typical symptom is redness of a round shape on the skin. The site of a tick bite, as the disease progresses, increases in diameter, especially its peripheral edges, from 2 cm at the beginning to 10 cm or more at the end. The edges of the skin at the epicenter of the focus are slightly elevated in comparison with healthy areas. In the center, the skin acquires a bluish tint, the immediate place of the bite is taken by the crust, then a scar forms instead. Holds for about 3 weeks, then slowly disappears.
- The second stage is disseminated, or, as it is also called, common. Symptoms begin to manifest after a few months after the bite of CNS disorders, damage to the heart and joints, pain in muscle tissue. Arthritis, encephalitis, myocarditis occur.
- The third stage is chronic. It is formed in the complete absence of treatment. At this stage, a rapid lesion of the central nervous system occurs with polyarthritis, multiple sclerosis, atrophy of the skin and other symptoms.
Forecasts are favorable with timely and proper treatment. Transition of the disease into a chronic form can lead to disability.
Important! Complications of this disease are very serious, they almost completely deprive a person of a full, normal life. After a parasite bite, blood donation for research is vital. In the early stages, the disease is very treatable.
How does the process of infection with borreliosis
Borrelia enters the human body immediately after a tick bite. During blood sucking, the parasite releases saliva infected with the pathogen. Further, Borrelia, penetrating the skin, begin active reproduction, and as their numbers increase, they begin to penetrate the heart, joints, and so on. This disease can occur for a long time, making itself felt by periodic relapses and exacerbations.
Tick bite treatment
The first is to remove the tick and examine it for the presence of the virus. After a confirmed diagnosis, the patient is prescribed complex treatment. In acute forms, the strictest bed rest is prescribed in combination with intensive care, the purpose and task of which is to reduce intoxication in the body and suppress the activity of the virus.
The patient is injected intramuscularly with Gammaglobulin. The sooner this drug enters the body, the faster the therapeutic effect. The drug acts for 24 hours, after which the patient's temperature drops to normal, the symptoms of encephalitis and meningitis decrease, sometimes disappear altogether.
To reduce the symptoms of poisoning, you need to carry out infusion detoxification treatment. For this, the patient is injected with fluids that help restore electrolyte balance, and glucocorticoids are also prescribed.
On the territory of the Russian Federation are more often used:
- For adults and children over the age of 14, Iodantipirin.
- For young children (up to 14 years old) - "Anaferon" for children.
Advice! If at the right time these drugs are not at hand, then they can be replaced with Cycloferon, Arbidol or Remantadine.
- The drug "Immunoglobulin" is advisable to use only in the first three days.
Emergency prophylaxis - take a pill of the drug "Doxycycline", but not later than 72 hours: for an adult - 200 mg, for a child aged 8 years and older - 4 mg per kilogram of weight. Small children and pregnant women are not recommended to use the drug.
The most effective way to prevent diseases from tick bites is vaccination. Especially for people at risk - living in adverse areas or near a forest belt.
Six types of vaccines are officially used in our country, two of which are intended for children. It is best to be vaccinated in late autumn. However, there are urgent vaccination regimens for emergency situations.
In the warm season, you can also be vaccinated, but with the condition that after vaccination a person will not visit the places where insects live for a month. The effect of vaccination will come only after the specified period. After this time, re-vaccination is done. Then you can be vaccinated every three years. If for some reason the period between vaccinations exceeds 5 years, then you will have to double vaccination again.
How to protect yourself from bites
First of all, you need to have a clear idea of those places and areas where ticks can most often live:
- Favorable terrain for them - moist lowlands with trees and dense grass, ditches, forest edges, especially birch, ravines, coastal zones near water bodies. Moreover, it is precisely at the edges and forest paths that there are much more of them than inside the forest.
- Trails and paths keep a human footprint and an animal footprint - these are the most attractive places for ticks.
If you are going to such places for relaxation, it is best to dress in bright clothes. On its background, a hitched insect is easy to notice. Be sure to cover the head with a cap, scarf or panama. Every 2-3 hours, carefully inspect the body, clothing, especially the head. Buy special creams, ointments and sprays, use them before visiting places where these dangerous insects are likely to live.
And in conclusion: the bite of the parasite itself is not dangerous. The content of infection in this individual is very serious. The adverse effects of a tick bite in a person are the development of a serious disease in the future. You should try to avoid dangerous places during the period of tick activity, and if you do visit them, do not forget to take precautionary measures.