Parent Information

Ticks

Tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme Disease, are largely preventable.  If you live in a tick-infested area, or are visiting an area inhabited by ticks, you can minimize your child's exposure by taking a few simple precautions.

  • Children and adults hiking in tick-infested areas should wear long clothing and tuck the end of their pants into their socks.  Light colors are preferable so that ticks will be more visible.
  • Apply an insect repellent with at least 20% DEET (e.g. Hour Guard 8, Deet Plus, Deep Woods Off!, Repel Classic Sportsman) or Permethrin (e.g. Permethrin Tick Repellent, outdoorsman Gear Guard, Repel Permanone) to clothing, shoes, and socks.  Do not apply insect repellent with this concentration of DEET or Permethrin directly to the skin.
  • At least once a day, carefully inspect the skin for ticks.  Pay close attention to under the arms, in the groin, behind the ears, along the hairline, and on the legs, particularly the back of the knees.
  • If you see a tick attached to the skin, remove it with a pair of tweezers.  Grasp the tick as close as possible to the site of attachment, and pull up straight from the skin to avoid breaking the body and jaws.  Always use gloves when handling a tick.  After removing the tick, wash the bite site with soap and water.  Never put alcohol on a tick during or after removal.

Ticks that carry the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease need to be feeding for well over 24 hours to transmit the bacteria.  If the tick has been attached for over 24 hours, watch for a rash that may develop anytime between 3 and 31 days after the bite (usually 1-2 weeks).  The Lyme Disease rash is red, circular, expands over a period of days to weeks, and clears centrally.  The rash may be associated with fever, malaise, or flu-like illness.

At this time we do not recommend saving the tick for analysis because of the unreliability of the available testing.


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