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How to Tell If You Have a Tick

By Mackenzie Wright ; Updated July 27, 2017

Ticks can be hard to detect. You won’t feel a tick bites as they occur, and if it goes undetected the tick will just satiate itself and drop off on its own. There are certain areas that can put you at risk for tick bites, such as wooded areas and tall grass. If you feel you might have been exposed to ticks, you should check yourself thoroughly. While most tick bites are harmless, some can become infected, and ticks can occasionally transmit more serious diseases that require medical attention.

Check your skin thoroughly all over your body. Check carefully in the creases of your elbows and knees, groin area, under your hair and arms. Ticks are tiny, spider-like bugs that are usually bluish-gray in color. They may be partially or fully embedded in your flesh.

Have someone help check in places you are unable to see.

Use a magnifying glass if you find any bits of debris or unusual specks on your body. Don’t try to brush off any small, dark debris if you think it might be a tick. This can cause it’s stomach to rupture, squeezing the contents back into your body, or dislodge the head, which can burrow further into your skin.

Keep looking if you find one tick. There may be more.

Look closely for any reddish areas, particularly if you have a rash in the shape of a bulls-eye. Check to see if the tick’s head came off and is embedded in your skin.

Check your clothes to make sure they don’t have ticks on them.

Go to the doctor if you found a tick, or think you might have had one, if you are experiencing fatigue, fever, headache, joint pain or muscle pain.

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