Ticks are one of the more common pests in the United States and are typically found in wooded areas like hiking trails and parks. Like mosquitoes, ticks are known for biting humans and are most active during the spring and summer months.
Ticks are parasites, which means they get their necessary nutrients from biting and feeding on live hosts such as animals and humans. Just like we need to eat food to survive, ticks need to feed on hosts to stay alive!
While a bee sting or ant bite can be painful, tick bites are surprisingly unnoticeable. People might not feel a tick crawling on their body or realize they are being bitten, which is why it is so important to check yourself and your pets for ticks after spending time outdoors.
What makes ticks so dangerous is that they can actually transmit harmful bacteria to humans when they bite, causing people to become sick in some cases. Because of this, it is important to tell a parent or guardian if you think you have been bitten by a tick.
Similar to mosquito bites, which can become red and itchy, there are also a few telltale signs that you may have been bitten by a tick. Unfortunately, it is tough sometimes to tell the difference between tick bites and other insects But Here are some possible signs that you have been bitten by a tick:
The most obvious way to identify a tick bite is by seeing the tick itself on your body. Unlike most other pests that bite, ticks will actually stay attached to your body for an extended period as they feed. In some cases, a tick will remain latched on to the skin for 10 whole days before detaching!
A bite can cause a red skin rash to develop near the bite site, especially if you are allergic to ticks. They prefer to feed in warm areas of the body, so bites and rashes might show up in places like the armpit or behind the knee.
Carried by a species known as the blacklegged (deer) tick, Lyme disease is one of the most common illnesses spread by ticks and is known for causing a red “bulls-eye” skin reaction that can look like a circle or target. If you notice this mark on your body, tell an adult right away.
Pain is another common sign you have been bitten by a tick. Similar to other bites from bugs like mosquitoes or spiders, tick bites can also cause pain, swelling or even a burning sensation. These reactions usually develop long after the tick has bitten you and may become irritating after time or if the tick is lodged in your skin
If you think you have a tick bite, look out for these signs and symptoms. Especially if you have recently spent time outside or in grassy areas! Always check yourself and your pets when coming in from the outdoors and be sure to tell a parent or guardian if you think you might have been bitten by a tick.
For more interesting tick facts for kids, check out our Critter Guide on ticks!