Is this a bug bite? And if so, should I be concerned?
July 12, 2018 5:51 PM   Subscribe

I just noticed what appears to be a bug bite on my daughter’s back. She’s a toddler. She doesn’t appear to notice it - no scratching, she’s in a great mood. What is this and is it something I should be worried about?
posted by fso to Science & Nature (13 answers total)
Hm, I was about to say "probably, and no".

But, to be honest, that is not totally inconsistent with a small tick bite (google image examples). Including rather large red area, a concentric pattern with darker red in the middle, and a small dark epicenter. It is almost certainly not a dog tick or other medium/large tick, but it could be a deer tick. Get a magnifying glass and good light and make sure there's not a little flea-sized tick in there. And if not, then you're probably fine, but this merits a bit closer inspection in my opinion.

So my answer is "probably, inspect more closely". It's a good sign it doesn't bug her, but is definitely something to keep an eye on in the next 48 hours, imo. Larger ticks are not generally a big worry, especially if they've dropped off cleanly on their own.

(I have had ticks, but not deer ticks, unfortunately deer ticks are having a bumper season this year)
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:02 PM on July 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have really bad reactions to mosquito bites and I have had bites that looked like that, BUT they have also been pretty itchy.
posted by lovableiago at 6:05 PM on July 12, 2018

To help get data, you can draw a circle in pen around the red area now.
posted by ewok_academy at 6:12 PM on July 12, 2018 [11 favorites]

If I saw this on my kid I would get it looked at, but we live in an area where Lyme is prevalent so it's always on our radar. As far as inspecting it to look for an actual tick, I wouldn't discount the possibility of a tick bite just because no actual tick is visible. If this is in fact due to some kind of tick-borne infection, the tick would probably already have dropped off before the reaction appeared.
posted by messica at 6:15 PM on July 12, 2018

We have had LOTS of attached ticks and I think that is NOT a tick bite. (We had one yesterday)
Where they attach and suck almost looks like a blood blister.

Also, I've never seen a tick willingly jump off and this certainly isn't the bite of a tick that ate till it's full.

I'd circle it and keep an eye on it - but I wouldn't worry too much.
posted by beccaj at 6:21 PM on July 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think it does indeed look like a tick bite.

If it were my kid I would be taking them in to see a doctor that is familiar with ticks and Lyme disease, asap.
posted by JamesBay at 6:31 PM on July 12, 2018

(Ticks always willingly jump off/extricate themselves when full, if left to their own devices. That’s how they work. It can take a day or two, by that is 100% their biological MO, and exactly what they have evolved to do. Perhaps not terribly relevant here but I want to make that clear for posterity)
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:42 PM on July 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Tick bites usually don’t itch and are not bothersome at all, though they look quite angry. I don’t think you should be especially worried, per se, but I’d take that to the doctor to rule out Lyme. If it’s Lyme (which I’ve had twice with bites that looked similar to that), it’s best to catch it early and do a quick course of antibiotics.
posted by katie at 6:50 PM on July 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

[To clear up my "they never jump off"... I meant never jump off BEFORE they have eaten to their fill which is normally more than 48 hours. And if they have been on a long time the area is really like a blood blister. And then they roll off all disgustingly fat.]
posted by beccaj at 7:07 PM on July 12, 2018

The red area around the bite is concerning, so I would mark it now to be able to tell if it gets bigger. Looks like a spider bite, possibly a tick. You can always call your doctor's office and ask for their advice.
posted by theora55 at 10:06 PM on July 12, 2018

Take your kid to the doctor’s, because you’re not sure what it is, and you’ll get peace of mind once you do know. The answers here vary enough that just waiting seems less ideal than having someone who knows something definitive telling you what this is. In short, it’s probably nothing, but I’d check with a Dr. To be sure.
posted by but no cigar at 10:15 PM on July 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Keep in mind that, per our infectious disease specialist pediatrician, they do not preemptively treat for Lyme in children anyway. They should only treat if symptoms appear.

That said, it is not at all a bad idea to call your pediatrician's office and tell them you suspect your child might have a tick bite and do they want to take a look? It'll go in her chart and if anything happens in a couple of weeks (fevers, joint pain, anything) they'll have the potential tick bite to refer to for diagnosis.
posted by lydhre at 7:44 AM on July 13, 2018

I can't see the picture, so no opinion on whether it looks like a tick bite or not.

One good thing to know about tick bites is that ticks are extremely unlikely to transmit Lyme disease if attached to the body for under 24 hours. The longer a tick is attached, the easier it is to spot as they get bigger.. And bigger.. And bigger. You still have to watch out for placed under the hairline, armpits etc, but at least on toddler's back it should be pretty noticeable.

CDC page on Lyme disease
posted by Orrorin at 4:12 PM on July 14, 2018

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