Seed ticks are very troublesome, and seed tick bites cause severe pain and also many diseases. So, let us learn all about them in this article.
Ticks belong to two families Ixodidae and Argasidae. Both families are a different species of Tick. There are more than 800 species of Ticks around the world. However, Ixodidae and Argasidae also called as hard Ticks, and Soft Ticks are essential to study as they cause most of the infections in humans.
Hard ticks have a sturdy back and get attached to the skin for a more extended period before any transmission to the blood. The second is the Soft ticks which do not have a hardback and tend to release the infection in the blood within minutes. Both the groups of Ticks have various life stages.
The smallest one of the stage is a nymph or the larva and is also referred as Seed tick. These are smaller than the adult ticks and have six legs rather than eight legs of an adult tick. Like the other ticks, seed ticks also feed on the blood of the humans. They are tiny and sometimes even hard to notice.
Their size is of the poppy seeds. They are also associated with specific seasons during which they evolve from larvae to adults. Sometimes they infect so many cattle as a host causing an endemic situation causing an economic loss as well.
Seed ticks attach themselves the body of the host immediately after hatching and would get stuck to the host for many days. Sometimes the seed tick gets held to the host for their entire lifetime.
In case they don’t find a suitable host the seed ticks might die. However, they are capable of surviving for a long duration without the intake of any food. Seed Ticks can feed on humans as well as animals.
Mode of Action:
Seed ticks usually bite the host and penetrate into the body of the host. They dig into the skin and feed on the blood of the host. Seed Ticks carry microorganisms with them and can pass the diseases through them. Some of the conditions caused by them include:
- Rocky mountain fever (A bacterial infection which causes fever, headache and rash)
- Lyme disease (also a bacterial disease)
- Babesiosis (vectors for protozoon)
- Southern Tick
- Q fever
- Tularemia (This is again a bacterial disease causing fever, ulcers, and infection).
They also affect animals and humans both, but this disease is very common among rabbits, hares.
Symptoms of Seed Ticks:
The symptoms of the Seed Tick Bite vary depending on the bacterial infection caused by them, and one should carefully notice the symptoms and sign that they or the person around is facing:
Swelling and reddishness: One can observe swelling and reddishness in the area where bite has taken place. This is the only symptom that happens because of the Seed Tick Bite. However, there are many associated Symptoms caused due to the bacterial infection through Seed Ticks. These include:
Symptoms of Tularemia:
- Muscle aches
- Fever and chills
- Lesions or bruises
- Swollen glands
Symptoms of Lyme disease:
- Round rashes around the bite area also referred as “Bull’s eye” as it appears like that.
- Palpitation or irregular heartbeat of the infected person
- Buzzing in the ear or a ringing sensation in ears
Symptoms of Rocky mountain fever include:
- Rashes that appear on wrists and ankles after the Seed Tick bite
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Severe headaches
- Deep muscle pain
In some cases, Seed tick infestation has been found to impact the eyes called the infestation of the conjunctiva, though it is a rare case. It happened to an American wood man’s eyes.
How to get rid of seed ticks at home:
If you come in contact of a Seed Tick, the most important thing is to remove the Seed Tick from the body and one should not panic as most often the ticks do not cause any infection.
One can use antibiotics in case of any signs or symptoms which indicate the occurrence of any bacterial infection. One should use the following home remedies to the infected person or the pet in case the pet has an insect bite. The Home remedies that can be used are:
Seed ticks appear like tiny black dots on the skin. There can be some Seed ticks present at the infected location. One should not try to remove those using hands.
Instead one should use a knife to scrape the seed ticks of the skin or use tweezers to remove the seed ticks from the surface. As the Seed ticks are tiny, the infected person can also use a magnifying glass to identify the seed ticks over the skin.
This is another method that is used for removing the ticks over the skin. One can apply the masking tape on the area infected. The tape should be applied firmly so that seed ticks get stuck to the masking tape. After sticking it rigidly, you can pull the tape by applying force at one end. Most of the seed ticks would come out using this procedure.
Anti- Lice Shampoo:
In case the masking tape is not sufficient to pull out the seed ticks, one can use the anti-lice shampoo to remove the Seed Ticks
Application of Ice Pack:
There is relief of itching due to the use of ice pack. One should use ice cubes on the affected area to cure the itching. While applying the ice pack, one should not use it directly as it may cause burn due to extreme cold. The Ice should be used after wrapping in a towel to the affected area
Aloe vera is a beautiful natural substance which has dual effects; it helps to cure the itching caused as well as benefits in the removal of any Seed Ticks remaining over the skin.
Treatment of Seed Tick bites:
In most cases, you do not need to visit a doctor for every tick bite. But you should monitor, if there are any fever, rashes or muscle aches like symptoms in the next two months, it could be Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease or tularemia.
So it is necessary to visit a doctor. The usual problem that one faces after Seed Tick bite are the Itching that happens on the location of the Tick Bite. Some of the treatment ways that can be used to heal this include:
Application of Hydrocortisone/Benadryl:
Benadryl can be applied to the itchy skin to have a soothing effect. Similarly, Hydrocortisone cream can be used to cure itching in case of insect bite or Tick bites
Apply an Ice pack or frozen vegetable:
Applying of an ice pack or frozen vegetables also helps reduce the itching on the affected part
One can also use herbal preparations like lavender oil or peppermint oil for treating itching and inflammation after a Seed Ticks on humans cause bites.
Calamine lotion or Marigold extract is also very useful in such conditions
One should consult a doctor if there is a fever arises after a tick bite. This might be because of the infection, and there would be a requirement of antibiotics for the treatment.
Prevention of Seed tick Bite:
Prevention is always better than cure. One should take following precautions:
- One should take precautions while in a place forest or a garden where there are a lot of trees/plants or any place where there is wood as they thrive in these places
- One should adequately check themselves if they have been to an area which is infected with Ticks.
- One should check themselves for a couple of days at least if they have been to an infected tick area. Also, ticks are tiny, and it is challenging to catch them especially in their early life cycle stage
In case the house is infected with Ticks following actions should be taken:
- One should treat the entire home with an insecticide to get rid of Seed Ticks.
- One should regularly cut down trees and plants from time to time which will help the sunlight to penetrate and will kill the Ticks.
- Insecticides should also be used around the garden area as this is the place where the manifest and grow.
- One should also take care of the pets as they are the preferred hosts for the ticks. One should bathe the Pets with tick shampoo to prevent any chances of Tick/bugs manifesting there.
- The habitat and the living place should also be kept hygienic and airy.
- You should take a hot shower if you are travelling or trekking to a forest area and should take adequate precautions like wearing full sleeves clothes, Long boots, People also get their shoes sprayed with insecticides or an applying a petroleum jelly
- Clothes used while travelling to such a place should also be appropriately washed using a disinfectant and hot water to avoid the propagation of ticks.