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Tick Bites: Flu-Like Symptoms

Topic Overview

Many of the diseases ticks pass to humans can cause flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches (myalgia).
  • A general feeling of illness (malaise).
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Diseases ticks may pass to humans include:

  • Lyme disease. Symptoms usually start 1 to 4 weeks after the tick bite, with up to 90% of people developing an expanding, circular red skin rash.
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Symptoms usually start about 2 to 14 days after the tick bite.
  • Tularemia. Symptoms usually start within 21 days (but average 1 to 10 days) after the tick bite or other exposure.
  • Ehrlichiosis. Symptoms usually start from 1 to 21 days (average of 7 days) after the tick bite.
  • Relapsing fever. Symptoms usually start 3 to 11 days (average of 6 days) after the tick bite.
  • Colorado tick fever. Symptoms usually start within 14 days (average of 3 to 6 days) of the tick bite.
  • Babesiosis. Symptoms usually start 1 to 6 weeks after the tick bite.

In some parts of the world, tick bites may cause other tick-borne diseases, such as South African tick-bite fever.

A doctor can evaluate the cause of your flu-like symptoms and recommend treatment.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: June 26, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine

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