I love Summer but I absolutely HATE bugs. This year ticks have been unusually bad in our area. It was only a couple of weeks into Summer when we found one attached to our 3 year old's back up towards his neck. Luckily my husband is from Southern Ohio where the ticks seem to be worse so he didn't break a sweat when we found it. He simply removed it and we went on about our day. So a short time later, our 8 year old went to a party with a friend and he came back with a tick on his leg down by his ankle. He was freaking out but again, we were able to quickly remove it and we never had any other issues. So you would think I would be used to it by now but this week, our 8 year old had yet ANOTHER tick attach to him, this time right at the nape of his neck. My husband was gone to the store so we waited on him to get back because he is so good at removing them but I thought this was a good time to talk about ticks and what you should do if you find one on yourself or your child!
*Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
*Pull upward with steady pressure. Do not twist or jerk on the tick as this can cause the body to break off and the head to remain in the skin. If this does happen, you will have to remove the head with the tweezers which is much more difficult to do.
*Do not squeeze the body of the tick with the tweezers. This could cause the tick to regurgitate it's stomach contents into your child's body and if it is carrying diseases, they can quickly be released into your child's blood stream.
*After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the area as well as your hands with alcohol or soap and water.
*If you are unable to remove the tick yourself, see your health care professional.
The CDC advises you do NOT do the following:
*Use heat to burn the tick off
*Paint the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly to allow it to detach itself
Following the tick bite, you will need to monitor your child closely. If you feel that the tick was not on your child very long (less than 24 hours) usually a trip to the Doctor is not necessary. However, if they develop a rash or fever within the first few weeks, see the doctor immediately. This could be the sign of Lyme Disease which certain types of ticks carry.
The best thing you can do is try to prevent ticks from getting onto your kids to begin with but this can be very difficult, especially if you have kids that play outside a lot. Keep your grass cut short and apply repellent to your children whenever they go outdoors to play. Have your kids shower or bathe after playing outdoors and when they are finished, check over them for ticks, especially if you live somewhere where they are common.