Tick Diseases

Tick diseases are often very annoying and could cause a lot of discomfort.

Tick Diseases pictures

These types of diseases are common in places that have very thick foliage like high grass, shrubs, trees and the like. It is rapidly becoming prevalent. That is the reason why we should educate ourselves about the different forms of tick diseases so we could get the best treatment available. Most of these conditions have similar symptoms, but each one is still different in a lot of ways. Following this paragraph would be some of the most common tick diseases that have been found out there.

Common Tick Diseases

1. Lyme Disease – this is a disease caused by ticks that carry with them the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Usually, this happens when that tick has bitten a mice or a deer that is also infected with the same bacteria. The tell-tale symptom for Lyme disease would be the bulls eye rash that could be found in the exact area where the tick bit. This would look like your typical bulls eye sign: a reddened area in the middle, a slightly whiter area surrounding that, and then an outermost reddened area. The rash could be more than 3 inches in diameter. These symptoms will also come with flu-like manifestations: headache, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, etc and usually develops within 48 hours. Treatment for Lyme disease would involve antibiotic therapy and lots of rest and hydration. This is one of those tick diseases that could prove to be life threatening when left untreated.

2. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – the type of ticks that carry the Rocky Mountain spotted fever would be wood and dog ticks. They have with them a type of bacteria called Rickettsia rickettsii. Spring and summer seasons are the height of this type of condition. Symptoms for RMSF usually develop within 2 weeks of the bite. They include general symptoms just like that of Lyme disease – flu-like symptoms. The characteristic rash that could be observed would start from the wrists (See: Wrist pain), moving center towards the trunk. Treatment for RMSF would include antibiotic therapy – doxycycline and tetracycline. Developing complications for this type of tick disease is very rare. However, you should not take that for granted. If you observe symptoms developing after you have been bitten, you should immediately consult a doctor.

3. Tularemia – is otherwise called rabbit fever. This is one of those tick diseases that has its origins from rodents and hares, thus the name. They carry with them a virus called Francisella tularensis. Tularemia may not only be caused by tick bites, but also by breathing it from an infected plant or dirt. Symptoms of Tularemia develop within 3 to 5 days after contact. They also present the same symptoms as the other two that were mentioned before – flu-like manifestations. The tell-tale rash in tularemia starts small, but grows on to become an ulcer. Treatment would also include antibiotic therapy, this time with streptomycin and tetracycline.

Diagnosing Tick Diseases

Diagnoses could not be formed basing on the symptoms alone. Below would be some of the most common lab works that would help your doctor confirm his suspicion.

1. Spinal Tap – or more commonly known as lumbar puncture. This is usually done in patients suspected of having Lyme disease. The doctor should expect to see a result that reveals an infection with Borrelia burgdorferi to cement his conclusion.

2. Skin biopsy – this type of test is needed in diagnosing RMSF. They would scrape off a sample from the rash and send it to the lab for testing. They would be looking for R. rickettsii to confirm a diagnosis.

3. Blood and sputum cultures – these are needed to confirm a diagnosis of Tularemia. They would be looking for the causative organism, Francisella tularensis, in your system.

Prognosis for Tick Diseases

As with everything else, as long as the patient adheres to the treatment prescribed by the doctor, he or she has nothing to worry about. As you can see, only antibiotic therapy is recommended to cure these common tick diseases. If the patient is well enough, he could take it in pill form. However, if he has difficulties swallowing, an IV form is also available.

Preventing Tick Diseases

Tick disease prevention is fairly easy. Here are some of those ways:

  • When going hunting, remember to cover body parts that could easily be accessed by fleas, like your legs and hands. Inserting the bottom of your pants’ legs into your socks would be a great way to do that. You should also wear long sleeved shirts and gloves.
  • Getting a vaccine would certainly help you fight off these nasty infections.
  • Wear light clothes. This would make it easier for you to spot the ticks and take them out.
  • Wear an insect repellant.
  • Wear rubber boots.

Tick diseases are fairly easy to treat, but getting them would be very annoying. Keep those prevention tips in mind to ward off an infection. And if you do get infected, at least now you know which signs to watch out for. But remember, nothing could replace the word of your doctor, so book an appointment as soon as you spot the characteristic symptoms of the three most common tick diseases there are.