Ticks (Tick Bites)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideLyme Disease Symptoms, Rash, Treatments

Lyme Disease Symptoms, Rash, Treatments

What is the prognosis (outlook) for people who get a tick bite?

The great majority of people who get tick bites have no problems during or after the bite. For people with suppressed immune systems (HIV, cancer, chemotherapy patients), the prognosis is still good, but they should contact their physicians and inform them about a tick bite. Also, the faster the tick is removed after a bite, the less likely the tick will transmit pathogens.

The overall prognosis for an individual person changes if the tick transmits a pathogen. The prognosis can range from good to poor and is determined by the disease transmitted, the stage of the disease, and the condition of the patient. Immune-suppressed patients usually have a worse prognosis than otherwise healthy people. Consultation with an infectious-disease specialist is one of the best ways to determine the prognosis for the many diseases that ticks can transmit to people.

What are the risk factors for tick bites?

People who go through grassy areas and woods are at higher risk for tick bites, especially during the months from April through September. People who travel through such areas out of necessity or for recreation are at higher risk than those that protect themselves with appropriate clothing and DEET-containing repellants (see prevention section below). In addition, people who have pets treated with flea and tick repellants decrease their risk of tick bites. People who live in areas surrounded by tall grassy areas or woods have a higher risk for tick bites, but the prevention section below describes ways to reduce risks.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/3/2015

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  • Ticks - Bite Symptoms

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  • Ticks - Diagnosis

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  • Ticks - Removal

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  • Ticks - Treatment

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  • Ticks - Prevention

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