During summer activities, chances are you’ll encounter bugs and insects. While these can be a nuisance, there are off chances you can accidentally swallow such a bug. Bobbi Pritt of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory (Mayo Clinic) explains that swallowing an insect is mostly harmless.
Like most other food, after swallowing, the body can digest arthropods. In this group, you can include arachnids such as spiders, mites, and other insects such as gnats, flies, fleas, mosquitoes, and bedbugs as the body would with any other food. The question often arises what happens if you eat a tick? To many, this is more worrying than what happens if you swallow a flea.
Ticks are bloodsuckers on your pets and carry many diseases. So, can you eat ticks, and do you need to worry? In our guide, you can learn more about what happens if you accidentally swallow ticks during your summer activities.
By the end, you’ll know more about the effect on your body and what you need to do if you eat this type of insect. (Learn How Many Square Bales In A Round Bale)
Can Anyone Eat Brown Dog Ticks?
Going back to Dr. Bobbi Pritt, if you eat an insect that bites or stings, there can be mild pain or swelling if you accidentally swallow one and they bite or sting you.
However, for anyone allergic, eating one that stings can cause the individual to break out in hives; face, mouth, or throat swelling along with difficulty breathing; or dizziness, and a drop in blood pressure, or at worst, cardiac arrest.
Dr. Bobbi Pritt (clinical parasitology laboratory) highlights anyone in such a situation should always have an EpiPen in case they accidentally swallow one or get stung or bit.
Certain arthropods carry germs on their feet and bodies invisibly, and Shigella can cause severe and frequent bloody diarrhea. If this occurs, you can get rid of it in a week with little worry, but if it’s severe, antibiotics may be required from a doctor.
What happens when you eat a tick?
Ticks active in March spend the rest of their lives in the grass and on the lower branches of plants. Even in the city, there is a significant likelihood that one will run into them close to home, in a park, or when landscaping.
Where does it happen?
Parasites can be found wherever there is tall grass, decaying foliage, last year’s grass, branches, or overgrown shrubs during the warmer months. They can wait for a victim for months and feed on the blood of animals, birds, and humans.
As soon as possible, they fall on the body and use smell to determine the proximity of the food source.
Where Ticks Go?
The parasite first moves across the body in search of areas where it can be suctioned, such as the groin, armpit, back, and, less frequently, the stomach.
The likelihood of swallowing is limited because the insect does not creep onto the face. However, brushing through bushes with your mouth open doesn’t mean it won’t happen, and you won’t accidentally swallow a tick.
What Can Happen If You Eat A Tick Species?
The public in various parts of our country is informed yearly through the media that tick-borne encephalitis is a hazard. When a parasite gets into a person’s wound, infection happens. Localized at the bite site, the virus slowly seeps into the bloodstream.
The threat of contracting tick-borne encephalitis is what the victims are most concerned about. Although a live tick has the potential to bite if you swallow it, this rarely occurs in reality.
The arachnid enters the stomach and esophagus before being quickly eaten. Infection does not occur while the intestines are split open by gastric fluid. In 1-2 days, undigested substances successfully exit the body. (Learn How To Get Pine Needles Out Of Mulch)
What to do?
You don’t need to be alarmed if you accidentally swallow a live tick. In the first two days, the parasite will naturally exit the body without doing any damage.
Although there’s a slight chance you could get tick-borne encephalitis, you can rinse your stomach to be sure. In this situation, you must drink lots of fluids to make yourself gag.
Only by chance can an arachnid be swallowed. Nobody even pays attention to what transpired. It is uncertain how taking medication can cause encephalitis infection.
How ticks spread disease
Most ticks develop through four phases: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. Ticks must consume blood to stay alive at every stage after emerging from the eggs.
To complete their entire life cycle, ticks that need this many hosts can take up to 3 years, and most of them will perish if they can’t find a host for their subsequent feeding. Some species of tick, such as brown dog ticks, prefer to feed on the same host during their entire life cycle.
In some regions of the southwestern United States and Mexico, brown dog ticks are the primary carrier of the bacterium that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Besides mammals and birds, ticks can also feed reptiles and amphibians. Most ticks prefer to have a different host animal at each stage of their life.
Can you get Lyme disease from eating a tick?
There is no proof that Lyme disease will happen after being spread by mosquito, fly, flea, or tick bites, including the brown dog, Lone Star American dog, Rock Mountain wood, fleas, or lice ticks.
What happens if a tick enters your body?
The various diseases’ symptoms can range from fever or chills to bodily aches, headaches, rashes, and nausea. A person may still have these symptoms years after being bitten by a bug.
Can ticks go inside you?
When actively sucking blood, they are the easiest to see on a person. Ticks partially penetrate the skin, bite, scavenge blood, and then detach. The mouth of the feeding tick will be under the skin, but the back portions will protrude.
What are the chances of getting sick from a tick?
There is a zero to fifty percent probability that a tick will transmit bacteria causing Lyme disease to a person.
The tick species the tick came from, how long it was biting you, and your overall health all have a role in your risk of developing Lyme disease due to a tick bite.
How soon after a tick bite do you get symptoms?
Symptoms typically appear one to four weeks after the tick bite, with up to 90% of victims developing an expanding, circular, red skin rash. Rocky Mountain spotted fever typically appears 2 to 14 days after the tick bite.
Should I take antibiotics after a tick bite?
To avoid anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or other rickettsia diseases, antibiotic treatment after a tick bite is not advised.
There is no proof that this treatment works, and it might only postpone the development of a disease where the body can naturally combat the bacteria. (Read Can You Use Grass Clippings To Cover New Seed)
What happens to a tick if it is not removed?
Once it is full, the tick will fall off on its own if you don’t first detect it and remove it. Though it frequently occurs within a few days, it occasionally takes up to two weeks. Similar to when you get a mosquito bite, the area around the tick bite will typically turn red and itchy.
How do I check my child for ticks?
Inspect your child for ticks in their hair, along their hairline, under their armpits, behind their knees, between their legs, and in the belly button.
Although ticks can bite any place, they are drawn to specific spots that are simple to ignore.
Can you flush ticks down the toilet?
You can’t kill a tick using water, as they don’t drown. These ticks survive death, yet they will be out of your home. The best way to deal with these bugs if you catch one or another insect species is to drop them in rubbing alcohol.