Tick Bites

It is fun to go hiking with family and friends, but if you aren’t careful, you may bring another “friend” home with you – a tick. As you walk, a tick is waiting for you to brush the grass or shrub they are attached to so they can jump on you. They attach quickly and prefer warm and moist areas; therefore, they head to the armpits, groin, or scalp. Once the tick has found its spot, it will bite you and burrow its head firmly in your skin.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease are two of the most commonly known tick-bite conditions.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF)

RMSF is the most important tick-borne disease in Oklahoma. Most cases occur between April and September, with the peak being May, June, and July. Symptoms of RMSF include sudden fever, chills, muscle aches, and headache. For approximately 50% of those infected, a spotty rash occurs on the feet and hands. Caught early, RMSF can be effectively treated with antibiotics.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease has not been reported to have a high prevalence in Oklahoma. A characteristic symptom of Lyme is a rash that occurs within three days and three weeks after a tick bite. Other common symptoms include fever, chills, headache, stiff neck, backache, and fatigue.

How to prevent tick bites:

  • Avoid wooded, high grass areas and walk in the center of trails.
  • Use an EPA-registered tick repellent.
  • Once indoors, immediately check your clothing and body for tickets.
  • Take a shower as soon as you can after coming indoors
  • Put your clothes in the dry on high heat for one hour to kill any remaining ticks.

How to remove a tick:

  • Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible.
  • Using even pressure, pull upward steadily. Don’t twist the tick.
  • After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with soap and water.
  • Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet.

It is essential to contact your primary healthcare provider if any of the following occur:

  • You are unable to remove the tick completely
  • If you develop a rash and it gets bigger
  • You develop flu-like symptoms two weeks after the bite
  • You think the bite is infected.


Nathan Murray, PA-C
Marlow Family Care




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