Tick bite – first aid…

Did you know?

In the case of a tick bite, it is advisable to remove the tick within the first 24 hours in order to reduce the risk of Lyme disease.

How do we deal with tick bites?

You are more likely to see the tick, than feel the bite. That is why you should check for tick bites on yourself and your children after spending time in grasslands or woodlands. It is common knowledge that contracting Lyme disease is the main concern. There are special kits available from pharmacies to remove ticks, but you may also simply use tweezers or even a couple of credit cards. It is important to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible, to gently pull upwards and to disinfect the area afterwards.

When shall I see a doctor?

Blood tests shortly after a tick bite are unreliable. You should look out for a circular red rash developing around the bite a couple of days later but it may even occur up to three months later. Blood tests at this stage may still be unreliable and you will normally be prescribed a three-week course of antibiotics to avoid the late stages of Lyme disease. Lyme disease can more rarely simply start with flu-like symptoms. In this case repeated blood tests at longer intervals will usually be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Is there anything else we should be aware of?

Another disease transmitted by ticks is tick-borne encephalitis, which does not occur in the UK but does occur in large parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Fortunately, there is a vaccination available against it, which is available at Roseneath Medical Practice.

by Dr Robert Arlt MD – GMC Reg: 6135708 
Consultant Paediatrician