Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Injury Prevention and Safety

Tick bite itching over 3 weeks after bite

07/11/2007

Question:

I was bitten by a tick a little over 3 weeks ago. I found the tick immediately after a run in the woods in the Minneapolis area and removed it immediately. It seemed as though we got it all - it was still moving around, etc. The bite remained red like a small bloody spot and did not seem to scab over. It did not bother me at the time. However, For the last 2 days, it has been itching and now it looks like a pimple. Is this normal healing for a tick bite or should I be concerned?

Answer:

The good news is that it is very unlikely that the tick was attached long enough to transmit disease. This usually requires attachment for 8 hours or more. It may well be a simple, local inflammatory reaction to the proteins the tick left behind under your skin.

Current recommendations are that a person experiencing a tick bite monitor their temperature for 2 weeks and see their health care professional if their temperature rises to 100.5 or higher. Appearance of one or more red concentric rings around the bite site would also signify that disease transmission has occurred. Preventive treatment with antibiotics is not recommended at this time by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although experts vary in their opinions.

I think that either self-monitoring is a good place to start or, alternatively, consulting with your doctor, if that feels most comfortable for you.

For more information:

Go to the Injury Prevention and Safety health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University