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Deer Tick Bites – What You Need to Know

Deer Tick Bites – What You Need to Know
Linda Guerrera

In the United States, we all fear the dreaded deer tick. These ultra-tiny bugs are annoying and can also be extremely dangerous and cause major health issues. One of the biggest problems with deer ticks is that they are so small they are very hard to see with the naked eye. Even when engorged, they can be barely noticeable.   

These minuscule bugs can really cause a lot of harm. They are known to transmit diseases to humans that can cause terrible symptoms and health issues, including Lyme disease.  

What a Deer Tick Bite Looks Like 

At first, a deer tick bite appears red and raised and about the size of a pea. However, some experience more of a reaction and it can appear larger and take on that famous deer tick bite bullseye look, with a larger red ring surrounding the red center. If you notice that the rash is getting larger and taking on the bullseye look, this could be a sign of a tick-borne disease and you should consult your doctor.  

It’s important to note that deer ticks are very small. An adult is about the size of a sesame seed while a younger nymph is as tiny as a poppy seed. They usually jump on their host from the ground and crawl up so it is important to check areas that are not exposed such as underwear, on the scalp, etc.  

Location, location, location!

However, the important thing to know is that not all deer ticks carry these nasty pathogens. Where you live or roam in the U.S. plays a big part in the risk of contracting a tick-borne disease.  

1. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States

If you live in the east, the northern and mid-Atlantic areas can be Deer Tick Central! The following states have a thriving population of deer ticks: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia.  

2. North Central Midwest States

Their tiny little legs have walked them straight to the middle of the country and into these states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, and areas of Missouri.  

3. Southern States

Oh yes, those little buggers are there, too, especially in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, and parts of Georgia.  

4. West

This part of the country has its very own species of black-legged tick. Known as Ixodes pacificus, quite a regal name for such a bad little bug found in the following states: California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and some sections of Idaho.  

So, if we do a quick count of the states I mentioned, these tiny insects are in 29 out of our 50 states...and an even higher ratio if we say that's 29 out of the 48 contiguous states.  

Deer Tick Diseases 

There are some very big issues that these tiny little blood-feasters can conjure up in the human body. While we all know that Lyme disease is the most common, deer ticks can also transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and the Powassan virus, which can cause serious issues to the heart, nervous system, and joints.  

Symptoms of Deer Tick Bite 

There are certain signs to be aware of associated with tick-borne diseases. These include:  

  • Bullseye rash at the site of the tick bite   
  • Flu-like symptoms  
  • Joint pain  
  • Fatigue  


Take precautions before heading into an area where ticks may be. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention suggests the following preventive steps if traveling someplace that are known to have a high tick population:  

  • Stay out of high grass.  
  • Spray insect repellent on exposed areas of the skin, clothing, and any gear. Make sure that the repellent you use contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.   
  • Pets can bring ticks into your home, so treat them for ticks.   
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors.   
  • Check your entire body with a mirror to spot any ticks.   
  • Put your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes.   

How to Remove a Deer Tick  

It's very important to remove a deer tick as soon as possible. Any transmission or infection is significantly reduced if the tick is removed within 36 hours of attachment. Once the tick is removed, monitoring the area for the following few weeks is important.   

Removing the tick can be a bit complicated because removing the whole thing, especially the head, is important. If a tick has been feeding for longer than 36 hours, it can be difficult to remove and may require a doctor's help.   

Here are the steps to take if you spot a tick attached to your skin:  

  • Grasp the tick near its head with a tweezer as close to your skin's surface as possible and pull straight up to remove it.  
  • Wash the bite with soap and water and then wipe it with alcohol.  
  • Put the tick in a plastic container and label it with the date, location, and any other details about the tick.   
  • Monitor the bite area and note any changes over the next few days and weeks.   
  • Note any other issues such as fatigue, fever, muscle aches, or joint pain.  
  • If there are any changes or symptoms, consult a healthcare professional.  

Being bit by a tick is not always a cause for concern, but it can carry some serious health issues. Be diligent. Prevention is the best way to avoid potential diseases. If you find a tick, take the proper measures to remove it and closely monitor the site for the next few weeks. Prompt medical attention can greatly affect your overall health and well-being.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Linda Guerrera

Linda Guerrera

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Linda Guerrera has been the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You since 2022. A recipient of the New York State Broadcasters Award for Outstanding Work in Radio, she spent over ...

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