Ticks are known to be most active in April – September. While most ticks are harmless and don’t require medical treatment, some ticks (like the deer tick, lone star tick and others) can carry harmful germs and cause diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and Ehrlichiosis. The deer tick is tiny, and no larger than a pencil point. Other ticks are larger and easier to find on the skin.
- Wear appropriate clothing: please see attached page for more information.
- Conduct a full-body tick check Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
- Examine clothes and gear. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine coats, and back packs. Tumbling clothes in a dryer on the highest heat for at least one hour may help kill remaining ticks.
- Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick.
- Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied to the skin, and protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions! Parents should apply this product to their child.
What to do if you find a tick attached:
If the tick is still attached to the skin, remove it:
- Using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the head of the tick close to the skin.
- Firmly and steadily pull the tick straight out of the skin.
- Do not twist the tick or rock it from side to side while removing it.
- Put tick in a sealed container or zip-locked bag and save it to show the doctor if your child becomes ill.
- Do not use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove the tick.
- Wash area with soap and water or swab the area with rubbing alcohol.
Signs & Symptoms of Tick-Related Diseases:
- Fever/chills: With all tickborne diseases, patients can experience fever at varying degrees and time of onset.
- Aches and pains: Tickborne disease symptoms include headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. With Lyme disease you may also experience joint pain. The severity and time of onset of these symptoms can depend on the disease and the patient's personal tolerance level.
Tickborne diseases can result in mild symptoms treatable at home to severe infections requiring hospitalization. Although easily treated with antibiotics, these diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose. However, early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications. So see your doctor immediately if your child may have been bitten by a tick and experiences any of the symptoms described above.
Seek Medical Care if:
- The tick might have been on the skin for more than 6-8 hours.
- Part of the tick remains in the skin after attempted removal.
- A rash of any kind develops (especially the red-ringed bull’s eye rash or red dots on wrists and ankles).
- The bite area looks infected (increasing redness, warmth, swelling, pain or oozing pus).
- Symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, chills, stiff neck or back or muscle or joint aches develop.
For more informatin about ticks, visit the Center for Disease Control Site http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html