Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Tick facts
- What are ticks?
- What are tick bite symptoms and signs?
- What diseases do ticks transmit (act as vectors) to humans?
- How is a tick bite diagnosed?
- What are the symptoms and signs of diseases transmitted by ticks?
- What is the treatment for a tick bite?
- How is a tick removed from the skin?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for people who get a tick bite?
- What are the risk factors for tick bites?
- How are bites from ticks prevented?
- Where can I find more information about ticks?
How are bites from ticks prevented?
Acaricides are chemicals that will kill ticks and mites. Acaricides have been used in high-use, confined areas where ticks might be prevalent, such as yards or deer blinds. Reductions of tick habitats (for example, removal of leaf, litter, tall grasses, and brush) have been effective in small-scale trials. Newer methods of control include applying acaricides to animal hosts by using baited tubes, boxes, and feeding stations in areas where infected ticks are endemic (for example, some areas with dense deer populations). Biological control with fungi, parasitic nematodes, and parasitic wasps may also help reduce the tick population. Avoid tick season completely by staying away from outdoor areas where ticks thrive, usually during the months of April through September in the U.S. In addition, application of acaricides (chemicals that kill ticks and mites) can be applied to large areas of land to reduce the tick and mite population. Removing litter and brush from areas where people live and work may reduce exposure to ticks.
The third web citation below has the CDC recommended methods (tips) for outdoor workers (and others) to avoid getting tick bites and is summarized here:
- Avoid grassy areas and shrubs where ticks populations may be high and where they reside, waiting to grab a ride on a potential host.
- Wear light-colored clothing so ticks can be easily seen, and brush them off.
- Tuck pants into boots or socks to avoid ticks crawling up loose pant legs.
- Apply insect repellant and use the brands designed to repel ticks. Follow label instructions. Avoid use of DEET-containing repellents on children. Carefully follow instructions and apply some repellents directly to skin and others to clothing. DEET-containing repellents with concentrations of 15% or less may be suitable for children. These should be carefully applied strictly following label directions. Repellents containing permethrins may be applied to clothing but not to skin. In areas that have a high tick population, DEET-containing repellents may need to be reapplied more frequently than for repelling mosquitoes. Follow the package label instructions carefully.
- Promptly check yourself, others, and pets if exposed to areas where ticks are likely to be located.
Be sure to treat pets with flea and tick repellents. If ticks are removed from pets, manage them the same way you would remove a tick on a person. Protect yourself from the potential exposures with gloves. People who live in a tick-infested area and have experienced a fever within the last two months should not donate blood. Taking antibiotics for the prevention of Lyme disease is controversial and probably only useful in areas of the country where exposure to deer ticks would be high.
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