Tick ​​bite with redness – when is it dangerous?

Illustration: Tick on the skin.

After a tick bite, the area around the bite may be red. (Source: pal1983/Getty Images)
After a tick bite, a more or less severe redness can be seen. What this means and when you should seek medical advice.

Redness immediately after a tick bite is normal

If a tick bite is red, this does not necessarily indicate an illness. If there is slight redness around the puncture site immediately after the tick bite, it is usually a harmless inflammatory reaction that has nothing to do with Lyme disease. The area may itch slightly. Such redness is not dangerous. After a few days it went away on its own.

  • Tick ​​bite itches: is this normal?

It looks different if redness only becomes visible a few days or weeks after the tick bite. Then it could be a so-called erythema migrans as part of Lyme disease.

Wandering redness in Lyme disease

For every 100 people bitten by a tick, about one person will develop Lyme disease. The disease is caused by bacteria.

If a tick is infected with the pathogens, they can pass to humans when they bite and cause Lyme disease. In the majority of those infected, Lyme disease is accompanied by redness, which experts call erythema migrans or erythema migrans. If the bacteria spread in the body, they can trigger sometimes life-threatening inflammation in various organs. Therefore, Lyme disease must be treated early with antibiotics.

The wandering redness is visually very different from the harmless redness that can be seen immediately after the tick bite. In addition, it does not form immediately after the bite, but only a few days to weeks later.

Infected people notice a defined red spot around the injection site. This has a diameter of five centimeters or more and is therefore significantly larger than a normal inflammatory reaction. In addition, the wandering redness gradually spreads. In this respect, too, it differs from harmless redness, which disappears after a short time.

Wandering redness (erythema migrans) on a person's leg.
In the case of a traveling erythema, a spreading redness forms around the puncture site.


A slight, possibly itchy redness that can be seen immediately after a tick bite usually disappears after a few days. If the redness is visible for a long time, if it spreads or if other symptoms arise, those affected should make an appointment at the doctor’s office to be on the safe side.


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