General Question

kimchi's avatar

How does one tell the difference between a bug bite and a tick bite?

Asked by kimchi (1440points) July 30th, 2015

Ever since I arrived to South Korea, I have gotten multiple bites on my arm, legs, face, etc. Whenever I itch them, they turn red and form a red circle on my skin. They are bumpy, as well. What is this? I have several of these on my arm. Some are less bumpy and some are very big. Is this Lyme Disease or a lot of bugs biting me?

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19 Answers

kimchi's avatar

Also, they cannot be bug bites. I sleep on a couch, not the bed. The bites get itchy after I touch them once, and are warm to the touch.

cazzie's avatar

Ticks stay latched on and suck your blood over a course of hours. You’d notice them. They sound like mosquito bites. Have you noticed mosquitoes? Have you talked to a doctor about malaria in South Korea and taken precautions?

Also, it could be bed bugs, but their bites look similar to mosquito bites. Bed bugs can live in old furniture, like the cushions on a sofa.

Here is a slide show that tries to help show the difference between the two type of bites.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Lyme disease is a northeastern US problem for the most part, but it’s spreading. The primary first symptom is a red bullseye circle around the bite. But that doesn’t always happen. If you suspect it get it tested. If it’s not treated early it gets mean. My niece moved back to NYS after med school and she found a tick on her dog. She called me to see if it was a concern. I told her to get to the vet ASAP. The dog already had a fever when they took him in.

JLeslie's avatar

Ticks hang on for a few days, so if you were getting multiple tick bites you would likely have seen a tick. Sounds like bed bugs, a spider, mosquitoes, or some other insect is more likely.

snowberry's avatar

I live in the USA. If it’s Lyme disease, a simple blood test often shows up as a “false negative”, meaning that you really do have the disease but the test didn’t show it. That’s because the Lyme bacteria live and reproduce in the synovial fluid of the joints. They only use the blood stream to travel from joint to joint. I don’t know why the medical profession doesn’t understand this, but for some reason it never occurs to them to simply test the synovial fluid in an affected joint for Lyme disease.

I’m sure part of that is because the insurance companies are without compassion, they often refuse to pay out if it involves the extra expense of drawing out synovial fluid to find the disease, and thus have to pay for treatment. I’ve never heard of a doctor who has suggested checking synovial fluid if a patient showing symptoms gets a negative result on their Lyme test.

janbb's avatar

Are you with people there that you can ask? That would be your best bet. I think it’s likely that it’s not ticks.

Zaku's avatar

@snowberry I’ve heard that the US medical community is actively avoiding diagnosing Lyme disease because the medical/insurance companies don’t want to deal with the actual treatment, which is extensive and costly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m guessing bed bugs. (Bed bugs aren’t confined to beds. They can be on couches, bedding, on the floor, anywhere.)

janbb's avatar

Bed bug bites are often in a line. That could be one way to tell.

Usually with ticks, it is only one bite that causes and there will be a bull’s eye raised ring around the bite site.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Do any of these look familiar? I got bed bugs once but they weren’t as severe as these pictures.

The question is, do you have them before you go to bed, or do you notice new ones when you wake up?

snowberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III yep. Sounds about right!

@kimchi here’s a thorough way to check for bedbugs. It’s a daunting task.

In addition. It’s a lot easier to look for them using a black light in a dark room. Combine these two skills you should find the task easier.

Dutchess_III's avatar

At any rate, wash your bedding in hot water and bomb the place.

janbb's avatar

Why not find out from someone first what kind of bites they are?

cazzie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Not sure why you think Lyme Disease is only in that area of the US. We’ve had it here in Europe for a long time. Here are stats for Norway, if you are interested. (Ticks aren’t spread to where I live in Sør Trøndelag, but my son’s first tick was pulled off the back of his neck in a village just south of Oslo.) Oddly, our lack of deer population probably helps keep the infection rate down. Another good reason to keep coyotes and wolves predating on those large herds of deer.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@cazzie That is a surprise to me. I thought it was a Northeastern US problem only. I would like to see the stats for your area. I stand corrected. Thanks for that info.

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