Tick season is here! What you need to know about prevention and removal

Tick bite season is back! It is spring and warm, and children and adults are playing outside again. Ticks are also getting more active and they're looking for a good, hearty blood meal from us. They can be found in wooded areas, brushy fields, and around your home.

When you find a tick on yourself or another member of your family, what do you do?  First, go to Kidshealth.org for a printable single page sheet on tick bites that you can hang up in your house.  Then do the following:

  1. If the tick is still on the skin, remove it with tweezers grasping firmly as close to the skin as possible and then pull it straight out without twisting. 
  2. Save the tick in a ziplock bag in case you have to show it to the doctor.
  3. Do not use Vaseline or a hot match as part of the removal.
  4. Wash your hands and site with soap and water and then swab the skin with rubbing alcohol.

When you seek medical attention about the tick bite?

  1. If the tick was on the skin more than 24 hours.
  2. The whole tick did not get removed.
  3. A new rash develops like a red-ring around the bite site or broken blood vessels on hands.
  4. The bite develops the classics signs of infection: warmth, redness, swelling, and pus.
  5. Your child develops illness especially high fever, headache, tiredness, or joint pain.

What are signs of specific diseases you can get from tick bites?

  1. An expanding red rash with a central red bump and/or joint pains may be Lyme disease.
  2. A red rash especially on palms and soles that does not blanch with pressure may be Rocky mountain spotted fever.

Prevention:

  1. Check your children’s skin after they play outside, especially the scalp and behind the ears.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when playing in heavily wooded areas.
  3. If there is a posted tick warning do not ignore it!
  4. You can put 10 percent DEET insect repellant on children over 2 years.

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