Poisoning from the bite of a tick.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • tick venom


Where Found

  • ticks  
  • related species

Ticks can be the source of several diseases including:

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever  
  • Lyme Disease  
  • Tick Paralysis  
  • Colorado Tick Fever  
  • Tularemia

The symptoms below refer more to the problems resulting from the bite itself, not the diseases it may cause. Some of the symptoms are specific to one variety of tick or another but not necessarily common to all ticks.

  • body as a whole       o weakness       o incoordination       o paralysis       o severe pain at bite site (some varieties), lasting for several weeks       o swelling at bite site (some varieties)  
  • respiratory       o difficulty breathing       o apnea (breathing stopped)

Home Treatment
Remove the tick (see tick bite). Be careful not to leave the head embedded in the skin.

Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the insect  
  • the time the bite occurred  
  • the part of the body affected

Poison Control, or a local emergency number
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses.

If possible, bring the insect to the emergency room for identification.

What to expect at the emergency room

  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)
The prognosis (probable outcome) will depend on what type of infection the tick may have been carrying and how soon appropriate treatment was begun.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Mamikon Bozoyan, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.