Tick bite treatment
What are ticks and tick bites?
Ticks are parasites that feed on human and animal blood. A tick bite is usually harmless, but sometimes it can cause an allergic reaction or serious illness. If you have a tick bite, it is very important to remove the tick as soon as possible.
What are the different types of tick bites?
There are about 70 different sorts of tick in Australia. They are especially common along the east coast. Some have a flat body and a long mouth, while some look wrinkly and leathery. In Australia, most tick bites are caused by the paralysis tick Ixodes holocyclus (sometimes called a grass tick, seed tick or bush tick). They grow from an egg to a larva (about 1mm long and brown) and then to a nymph (about 2mm long and pale brown). An adult paralysis tick is about 1cm long and a grey-blue colour. Ticks need blood to grow. They crawl up grass or twigs and drop onto passing animals or humans, attaching themselves to the soft skin to feed. They inject a substance to stop the blood clotting. Their saliva can also be poisonous. Some people are allergic to tick bites. Others, usually children, can develop a condition called tick paralysis. It is also possible for ticks to pass on several illnesses to humans.
What are the symptoms of tick bites?
If you have been bitten, usually you will just notice redness and swelling around the tick bite. This will disappear once you remove the tick.
Watch a video from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) on how to safely remove a tick. Click here
Resources and support
Visit the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website for information about tick allergy.
Visit the Department of Health website to learn more about tick bite prevention.
Visit Tiara website for information about tick-induced allergies, research and awareness.