Seed tick bites can cause intense itching in humans and pets. Scratching these bites can lead to serious skin infections. Seed ticks are nothing but the larval forms (or smaller versions) of dog ticks. They resemble pepper-like (or dust) specks and have very sharp teeth with a barbed snout that cements them down in place. As a result, they are very difficult to remove.
Often people make the mistake of pulling seed ticks out which only results in leaving their mouth parts behind on the skin. This can lead to infections like Lyme’s disease, tularemia etc. Let us discuss a few remedies and home treatment for treating seed tick bites.
How to remove the seed ticks from the skin
Seed ticks look like tiny dots on the skin.
- The first thing to do is pull out the ticks. Never do this with your hands; instead use a knife to scrape the ticks off. Alternatively, you can use a strong pair of tweezers to remove the seed ticks without leaving behind any mouthparts.
- Ensure using a magnifying glass to see if all the ticks have been removed from the bitten region.
- In case of infested pets or cases where the seed ticks are difficult to remove, one can use a medicated anti-parasite/lice shampoo, or even alcohol based mouthwash to remove the ticks.
- Using sticky tapes on the skin can also help you pull the seed ticks out completely.
How to relieve the itch caused by seed tick bites
- Apply some Benadryl or hydrocortisone cream to relieve itch.
- Apply some ice cubes or frozen vegetable packs directly to the skin.
- Herbal preparations containing peppermint or lavender oil etc can also help reduce the itching and inflammation.
- If you are outdoors trekking or camping, try to find an aloe vera plant. Cut open its leaf and apply the soothing gel directly on the bitten region.
- Calamine based lotions or marigold extract can also help soothe the seed tick bites.
- Seek medical help, especially in case there is fever. This is a sign of an infection and antibiotics must be taken promptly to prevent further complications.
Ways to prevent seed tick infestations
A seed tick infestation can be difficult to treat in that; these parasites crawl all over the place and are not easy to spot. The entire house should be treated with an intensive pest control treatment. If need be, do not hesitate to seek help from professionals.
Start by treating the outdoors. Seed ticks predominantly live in the grass and they lay hundreds of eggs there. Pets romping outside inadvertently bring these parasites inside your home. Hence, it is essential to mow the lawn and trim the yards regularly.
Always take a hot shower after you have trekked on trails with tall grasses to deter ticks if any. Wear tall boots that have been sprayed with insecticides which are toxic to the ticks. Some hikers apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly on the lower parts of their legs and feet so the ticks cannot climb up further on their body. Many carry sticky tapes to strip the seed ticks off the skin. Also wearing long sleeved clothing can prevent ticks from biting the arms. Use an insect repellent where possible. Wash all clothing in hot water after you are back from the hike. Pets should also be treated with anti-tick or flea shampoos and sprays to hinder seed ticks.
Seed tick bites can cause swelling, itchiness, serious skin infections, Rocky Mountain fever, Tularemia etc. If you have recently suffered from seed tick bites, it is important to watch out for muscle aches, fever etc and if these signs are present, medical help be sought immediately.