Ticks are known transmitters of disease to humans and animals. Tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Q fever, tularemia, babesiosis, and Southern tick-associated rash illness. Infected ticks spread disease once they've bitten a host, allowing the pathogens in their saliva and mouth get into the host's skin and blood. Tick bites are typically painless, but the site of the bite may later itch, burn, turn red, and feel painful. Individuals allergic to tick bites may develop a rash, swelling, shortness of breath, numbness, or paralysis. Tick bite treatment involves cleaning and applying antibiotic cream. Read more: Ticks Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Summer Skin Risks: Sunburn, Bug Bites & Poison Ivy
When it comes to summer, there plenty of hazards under the sun! Take the Summer Skin Hazards Quiz and clue in on the dangers to...
Lyme Disease Quiz: Symptoms & Signs
What you do not know about Lyme disease may surprise you. Learn the causes, symptoms, treatments, and complications of this...
Picture of Tick Bite Granuloma
Sometimes at the site of a tick bite, a persistent firm papulonodular lesion may develop. See a picture of Tick Bite Granuloma...
Picture of Lyme Disease (Erythema-Migrans)
Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by the pinhead-sized Ixodes ticks. See a picture...
Picture of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is transmitted through a bite from a specific type of tick. See a picture of Lyme Disease and learn more about the...
Bad Bugs: Identify Insects and Bug Bites
What do bed bug bites look like? How do you treat bug bites? Why do bug bites burn? See spider bite pictures and learn how to...
Summer Skin Dangers: Burns, Bites, Stings, and More
Summer can be hazardous to your skin if you come in contact with jellyfish, stingrays, henna tattoos, poison ivy, oak, sumac,...
Lyme Disease Symptoms, Rash, Treatments
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted to humans through infected deer ticks. Lyme disease...
Pet Health Pictures Slideshow: What You Need to Know About Fleas and Ticks
Watch this pet health slideshow to see the warning signs of flea and tick infestation and the best treatments for dogs, cats, and...
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: See Photos of the Rash
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease carried by ticks that can be fatal if not treated. See pictures of the symptoms of...
Related Disease Conditions
Fever in Adults and Children
Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness, which is spread by ticks when they bite the skin. Initially the disease affects the skin causing a reddish rash associated with flu-like symptoms. It takes weeks to months after the initial redness of the skin for its effects to spread throughout the body. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Lyme disease can be prevented by using tick avoidance techniques.
Palpitations (Causes and Symptoms)
Palpitations are uncomfortable sensations of the heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly. Some types of palpitations are benign, while others are more serious. Palpitations are diagnosed by taking the patient history and by performing an EKG or heart monitoring along with blood tests. An electrophysiology study may also be performed. Treatment of palpitations may include lifestyle changes, medication, ablation, or implantation of a pacemaker. The prognosis if palpitations depends on the underlying cause.
Travelers should prepare for their trip by visiting their physician to get the proper vaccinations and obtain the necessary medication if they have a medical condition or chronic disease. Diseases that travelers may pick up from contaminated water or food, insect or animal bites, or from other people include: malaria, meningococcal meningitis, yellow fever, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, polio, and cholera.
The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
West Nile Virus
West Nile virus (West Nile encephalitis) is a brain infection caused by a virus. People become infected with the virus after they're bitten by a mosquito that has fed off of a bird that's infected with the West Nile virus. Symptoms in humans include fever, headache, rash, body ache, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment for a West Nile virus infection involves supportive care.
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching to include: infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
Nausea and Vomiting (Causes, Natural Remedies, Diet, Medication)
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers. Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
Bedbugs (from the insect family Cimicidae) are small, reddish-brown tick-like insects that feed by sucking the blood of mammals. They are often found in poorly sanitized areas or in crowded living quarters.
Spider Bites (Black Widow and Brown Recluse)
Most spiders in the United States are harmless; however, black widow and brown recluse spider bites may need medical treatment. Symptoms of a harmless spider bite generally include pain, redness, and irritation. Signs and symptoms of black widow spider bite include pain immediately, redness, burning, and swelling at the site of the bite. Sometimes the person will feel a pinprick or double fang marks. Brown recluse spider bite symptoms and signs are a mild sting, followed by severe pain and local redness. These symptoms usually develop within eight hours or more after the bite. Black widow and brown recluse spider bites have similar symptoms, for example, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, and abdominal or joint pain. Generally, brown recluse and black widow spider bites need immediate medical treatment. If you think that you or someone you know has been bitten by a brown recluse or black widow spider, go to your nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Department for medical treatment.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a tick-borne disease that causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash, headache, and muscle aches. The antibiotic doxycycline is the standard treatment for Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Bug Bites and Stings
Bug bites and stings have been known to transmit insect-borne illnesses such as West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease. Though most reactions to insect bites and stings are mild, some reactions may be life-threatening. Preventing bug bites and stings with insect repellant, wearing the proper protective attire, and not wearing heavily scented perfumes when in grassy, wooded, and brushy areas is key.
Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
Viral hemorrhagic fever(s), or VHFs are a group of illnesses caused by distinct families of viruses. Many of these viruses are life-threatening, and classified as biosafety level four (BSL-4) pathogens. Viral hemorrhagic fever viruses are caused arenaviruses, filoviruses, bunyaviruses, and flaviviruses. The viruses are carried in rodents and transmitted through urine, fecal, saliva, or other body excretions from the infected rodents. Symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever include marked fatigue, dizziness, muscle aches, loss of strength, fever, and exhaustion. Severely ill patients may also suffer shock coma, seizures, delirium, kidney failure, or nervous system malfunction. There is no established cure for viral hemorrhagic fever.
Chiggers are a mite belonging to the Trombiculidae family. Chiggers are most commonly found in grassy fields, gardens, parks, forests, and moist areas around lakes or rivers. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not burrow into the skin. Chiggers insert a feeding structure into the skin and inject enzymes that destroy host tissue. The chiggers then feed on this dead tissue. The most common symptom of a chigger bite is itching. Treatment generally includes antihistamines and calamine lotion.
Tularemia (rabbit fever) is an infection caused by the Francisella tularensis bacteria. People can become infected with tularemia by coming into contact with infected animals or via a tick bite. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache and rash. Tularemia is treated with streptomycin or gentamicin.
Is Lyme Disease Contagious?
Lyme disease may be transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected tick. The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi causes the disease and is passed to humans during a tick's blood meal. Lyme disease does not spread from person to person.
Powassan Virus Disease
Powassan (POW) virus disease is a rare tick-borne disease that causes symptoms such as confusion, memory problems, fever, headache, vomiting, and seizures. POW virus treatment focuses on supportive care that aims to reduce symptoms. There is no medication or cure for POW virus disease.
Bourbon virus disease is a tick-borne disease that causes signs and symptoms that include fever, rash, headache, vomiting and nausea. The Lone Star tick transmits the disease to humans. Treatment focuses on supportive care.
Ticks vs. Bedbugs
Bedbugs are parasites. Ticks are arthropods. Tick and bedbug bites are typically painless. Calamine lotion can be helpful with both bedbug and tick bites. Bedbugs typically do not spread disease, while tick bites may often transmit disease.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Venturing Out? Guard Yourself Against Disease-Carrying Ticks
- Raking Your Leaves to the Edge of Your Yard an Invitation to Ticks
- What Is Your Cat Trying to Tell You? 'Cat Whisperers' Know
- Where Tick Bite Cases Are Increasing in 2019
- Health Tip: Protecting Yourself From Summer Bugs
- Lyme Disease Now a Threat in City Parks
- Health Tip: Tick Removal
- Everything You Need to Know About Lyme Disease
- Let Your Lawn Grow: It's Good for Bees, Won't Attract Ticks, Study Finds
- Climate Change Will Aid Spread of Disease-Bearing Mosquitoes
- Tick Bites More Likely to Cause Red Meat Allergy Than Thought
- New Disease-Bearing Tick Set to Spread Throughout United States
- Asian Longhorned Tick Is Invading United States
- Tick-Borne Diseases Set U.S. Record in 2017
- Record Number of Tick-Borne Disease Cases in U.S. Last Year: CDC
- Health Tip: Keep Ticks Away
- Health Tip: Identifying Signs of Tickborne Illness
- Make Your Next Camping or Hiking Trip Trouble-free
- New Tick Species Spreading in U.S.
- New Tick Species Spreading in U.S.
- Big Slice of Red Meat Allergies Tied to Tick Bites
- As Ticks Reach Record Numbers, Take Precautions
- Lyme-Bearing Ticks More Widespread in U.S. Than Thought
- Tick-Caused Meat Allergy on Rise in U.S.
- Health Tip: Avoiding Lyme Disease
- To Repel Ticks This Summer, Try Insecticide-Treated Clothes
- Health Tip: How to Get Rid of an Embedded Tick
- U.S. Illnesses Tied to Ticks, Mosquitoes Are Soaring
- Health Tip: Recognize Signs of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- First Screening Tests Approved for Tickborne Parasite
- Lone Star Ticks Won't Give You Lyme, But Can Still Make You Sick
- Dinosaurs Dealt With Pesky Ticks, Too
- Don't Let the Tick Stick
- Health Tip: Recognizing Lyme Disease
- Researchers Developing Early Detection Test for Lyme Disease
- Many Americans Unaware of This Year's Heavy Tick Season: Poll
- How to Keep Your Kids Out of the ER This Summer
- Health Tip: Preventing Tick Bites
- Could You Spot Bed Bugs in a Hotel Room?
- Tick-Borne Illness Suspected in 2-Year-Old's Death
- Coming This Summer: More Ticks and a Deadly New Tick-Borne Disease
- More Cases of Tick-Borne Powassan Disease Expected in U.S. This Year
- Don't Let Ticks Get Under Your Skin
- Ticks Carrying Lyme Disease Confirmed in Eastern National Parks
- Study: El Nino Could Boost Lyme Disease in Western U.S.
- Richer Houses Home to Wider Range of Bugs
- How to Keep Bug Bites at Bay
- Drug Duo Cures a Tick-Borne Disease -- in Mice
- 7 Ways to Give Ticks the Slip
- New Lyme Disease Bacteria Discovered in Upper Midwest: CDC
- Studying Tick Biology With Lyme Prevention in Mind
- Lyme-Causing Ticks Expand Their Range in U.S.
- Migrating Birds May Bring Exotic Ticks to U.S.
- Watch Out for Disease-Carrying Insects This Summer
- Tick Infection Epidemic Among American Indian Tribes in Arizona: CDC
- As Mosquito-Borne Illnesses Threaten U.S., Less Money Spent Fighting Them
- Another Tick-Borne Illness Documented in Northeast
- Health Tip: Caring for Bug Bites
- In Northeast, Weather Changes May Mean More Ticks, Earlier
- CDC Says New Tick-Borne Virus May Have Killed Kansas Man
- Health Woes to Worsen Due to Climate Change, Study Warns
- Health Tip: Safely Remove a Tick
- EPA Unveils New Bug Repellant Labeling
- Culling Deer Herd Curbs Lyme Disease, Study Says
- Guard Your Kids Against Bug Bites This Summer
- Tick Exposure Can Occur in a Minute in Infested Areas
- Preventing Tick Bites
- Prevent Tick Bites While Enjoying the Outdoors
- Midwest Ticks Show Signs of 'Heartland Virus'
- Health Tip: Check for Ticks
- Tick-Borne Illness Babesiosis a Hazard for Seniors
- New Tick-Borne Illness May Be Misdiagnosed
- Tick Safety Tips for Kids at Summer Camp
- Tick-Borne Meat Allergy May Have Affected Virginia Kids
- Health Tip: Defend Against Insect Bites While Traveling Abroad
- Deer Ticks Carry Yet Another Bacterial Threat
- Boughs of Christmas Trees Hold Many Insects, Bug Expert Says
- Lyme Rash Reappearance Probably Signals New Infection, Study Says
- Tick-Borne Illnesses in U.S. Move Beyond Lyme Disease
- Lone Star Tick Bite Might Trigger Red Meat Allergy: Study
- Tick in Man's Ear Gives Him Tinnitus
- New Tick-Borne Disease: 'Heartland Virus'
- Certain Tick Bites Might Spur Red Meat Allergy
- Health Tip: Check Yourself for Ticks
- CDC Warns of Another Emerging Tick-Borne Threat
- Tick Season Starts Early: How to Protect Yourself and Your Pet
- Warm Weather Triggers Early Allergy Season
- Northeast U.S. Should Brace for Spike in Lyme Disease: Expert
- Map Shows Where in U.S. to Beware of Lyme Disease
- Health Tip: Taking Care of a Tick Bite
- Man Dies of Brain Inflammation Caused by Deer Tick Virus
- China Documents First Case of Tick-Borne Disease Spread
- Health Tip: Removing a Tick
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter