Tick bites are the worst, there's no doubt about that. Not only is it disturbing to get the tick removed from your skin, but you need to also be aware of any symptoms of Lyme disease. Some people may experience itching at the site of the bite, so is this a sign of Lyme?
The providers at AFC Urgent Care Bedford can remove ticks and remove a tick head embedded into your skin. Our center is also able to test patients for Lyme disease and give signs to look out for if symptoms develop later. Visit our walk-in center if you have been bit by a tick and want to get tested.
What Causes Tick Bites to Itch?
Like most biting insects, ticks have chemicals in their saliva that can cause itchiness after being bit. For most people, the chemicals prevent you from feeling any pain or itchiness, allowing the tick or insect to feed freely. In rare cases, the chemicals can cause an allergic reaction.
Frequent Tick Bites Cause Itchiness
The more often you are bit by ticks, the more likely they are to itch. This is caused by a person's immune system beginning to recognize the proteins in the saliva. Then, your immune system will recognize a foreign invader and send a response. This can cause inflammation, redness, and itchiness at the site.
One study has found that after four tick bites, the chance of itchiness increases by 97%.
Embedded Tick Heads
When removing a tick, it's critical to remove the entire thing. Ticks bury their head into the skin, and it can be easy for the head to break off during the removal. This can also cause itchiness and inflammation.
If you are attempting to remove the tick at home, be sure to use pointy tweezers and check to ensure there are no mouthparts remaining in the skin.
Is Itchiness a Sign of Lyme Disease?
Itchiness immediately to a few days after the bite is not a sign of Lyme disease. If you're experiencing severe itchiness, it may be a sign of an allergic reaction. If you experience itchiness up to weeks later, that can be a sign of a different tick-borne illness.
Itchiness, in general, is not a sign of Lyme disease. Be sure to monitor the site of the bite and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease.
There are some at-home remedies that can help alleviate the itching. This includes applying tea tree oil to the site, making a paste with baking soda and water, lavender or activated charcoal poultice, or over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams.