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You probably get bitten by mosquitoes a couple of times a year. And there’s a good chance you’ve been stung by a hornet at least once in your life. But one creature you don’t want to get bitten by is this thing.
This is a tick. And just one tick bite could affect you for the rest of your life. So what would it be like to get bitten by 1 million of them?
How can this bite make you sick? How could you survive this mass attack? And what would the lasting effects be?
Ticks can’t jump or fly. Instead, they wait on tall pieces of grass for something to come by that they can start biting. Then they latch onto their host, and find a thin piece of skin they can extract blood from. So what would being bitten by just a single tick feel like?
Well, one of the scariest parts of being bitten by a single tick, is that you wouldn’t feel it at all, at least not as it happens. These things are so small that they can stay on your body for days without being detected. So one bite wouldn’t bother you, but what about a couple of hundred tick bites?
If this were to happen, you still might not feel all the ticks piercing into your skin. Instead, you’d feel hundreds of these creatures crawling around your body.
Even with a couple of hundred ticks on you, it would be hours before you begin to feel the effects. That’s because ticks usually take hours to find their feeding spot on your body. Once they choose a spot, they’ll begin to suck your blood.
They’d feed on you for a few hours. You’d begin to feel light-headed, and maybe even nauseous from the blood you’ve lost. And tick saliva has anticoagulants, which will thin your blood, making you bleed even more.
If you had 5,000 ticks drinking your blood, the blood loss could kill you. That’s because an average tick can suck up to 1 ml of your blood. And you have up to 5,500 ml (1.2 gal) of blood in your body. But they’d need to feed on you for hours to do that.
The good thing about a tick bite is it doesn’t happen instantly. Instead, these bites are a long process and can take up to 48 hours before the tick is finished drinking your blood.
If a million ticks attacked you, that would feel pretty terrible. If they fed on you for long enough, you would certainly die. Not to mention that all that extra weight on your body would probably suffocate you. But if you did happen to get medical attention fast enough, and get all the ticks off of you, then there’s a good chance you’d be OK.
Once you reached the hospital, dozens of doctors and nurses would have to carefully find, and remove, every single tick from your body. That’s because after the ticks latch on, they start to burrow into your skin. They’re not something you can easily just brush off. Instead, it requires a precise extraction to get them out of you. It would take hours, maybe even days, to get every single tick off your body.
Throughout this process, you’d continue to lose blood. Luckily, if you removed them fast enough, you’d end up surviving. But if you leave just a single tick on your body, the consequences could be devastating.
That’s because the tick drinking your blood would be the least of your worries. Ticks can give you plenty of other health problems, including Lyme disease.
This tick-borne illness would make you incredibly fatigued, and could lead to joint pain and heart issues. You could end up bedridden from just a single tick bite. And this could last for years if not treated properly. So if you didn’t manage to get every single tick off you, there’s a good chance you’d end up with Lyme disease.
And even after treatment, you could still experience symptoms like difficulty thinking and continued fatigue. So just a single tick bite could change your entire life.
So if you ever find yourself walking in some tall, grassy fields, remember to check everywhere on your body for any ticks. And we mean everywhere. Ticks can hide in your hair, your armpits, and even your groin. Being bitten by ticks sure does suck. But how do they compare to murder hornets?
- “15 Important Facts You Must Know About Ticks”. Maria Masters, 2020. health.com.
- “How Ticks Work”. TRACY V. WILSON, Howstuffworks.
- “6 ways ticks can make you sick or kill you, from Lyme disease to the Powassan virus”. 2020. Insider.
- “Prevention Is Key In Fight Against Lyme And Other Tickborne Diseases”. 2019. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention.
- “WHAT EXACTLY IS A TICK “BLOOD MEAL” AND CAN ALL BLOOD MEALS MAKE YOU SICK?”. Mosquito Squad.
- “Chapter 31: Largest Blood Meal | The University Of Florida Book Of Insect Records | Department Of Entomology & Nematology | UF/IFAS”. 2020. entnemdept.ufl.edu.
- “How Much Blood Is In Your Body?”. 2020. wonderopolis.org.