Co-Infections (Other Tick-Borne Diseases)

After a Tick Bite, Watch for These Symptoms

In my last post, we learned “How to Treat Tick Bites in Seven Easy Steps.” Step seven was “See your doctor and watch for symptoms.” So, what symptoms should we be watching for after a tick bite?

Tick secretions themselves can cause our earliest symptoms. Most people, though, don’t develop signs of illness unless they contract a disease. And those diseases usually take three to thirty days to manifest.

Tick-Borne Diseases You Can Contract after a Tick Bite

According to the CDC, the following tick-borne diseases are the most common ones in the United States. For each, I’ve listed their typical symptoms. Which most closely mirror yours or your loved one’s?

Lyme Disease

Early Lyme symptoms tend to be flu-like. You may experience chills, fatigue, fever, headaches, malaise, sore throat, or muscle pain. You might notice a bull’s-eye rash or other expanding round or oval rash. 

Rashes to watch for after a tick bite


Babesiosis also leads to chills, fatigue, fever, and headaches. In addition, this common Lyme co-infection causes sweats, nausea, body aches, and loss of appetite. Symptoms usually appear one to four weeks after exposure but can take up to six months.


Ehrlichiosis also results in chills, fever, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. However, the headaches tend to be severe. Moreover, this disease causes confusion and diarrhea.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Signs and symptoms of this potentially fatal disease usually appear three to twelve days after the bite. They include rash, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and stomach pain.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever tick bite rash
Photo courtesy of the CDC.


Anaplasmosis incites chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and severe headaches.

Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI)

With STARI, around seven days after the tick bite, patients occasionally get a Lyme-like rash. Other signs and symptoms include fatigue, fever, and headache. Patients also suffer from joint and muscle pains.

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever

As its name suggests, the main sign of this disease is high recurring fevers. During these temperature spikes, patients also endure headaches, joint pain, and muscle aches.


Tularemia can give rise to a fever as well as a rash or skin ulcer and painful, swollen lymph glands. Besides those unpleasant signs, its symptoms include chills, headaches, and exhaustion.

Most Common Tick-Borne Diseases in the United States

Of all these tick-borne diseases, Lyme is the most common here in the United States. Plus, it’s the one that my dad, my daughter, and I have all had. So, let’s dive deeper into what early Lyme disease looks like and how to catch it before it spreads. Read my next post here!

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