Even those who are vigilant about skin checking for ticks can miss them. Ticks can be tiny, no bigger than the head of a pin. Since various insect bites can be difficult to distinguish from one another, how can you tell if you have been bitten by a tick? If you notice an insect bite and are uncertain whether or not it’s from a tick, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did you or your pet recently spend time outdoors in the woods or brushy areas?
- Is the bite area red and inflamed?
- Is there slight pain, discomfort, or itching around the area?
- Upon closer examination, do you see a raised, dark speck in center of the bite area?
- Are insect legs visible?
- Is the skin immediately surrounding the bite purple or bruised in color?
Insect bites with the characteristics described above could mean a tick bite. If you find an attached tick on your skin, remove it immediately and disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Ticks removed within 24 hours of attachment are unlikely to cause a Lyme infection.