All about Ticks

This is a banner year for ticks; therefore, it is not surprising or uncommon to find ticks on people following outdoor exposure. Most ticks do not carry disease. However, some do, and precaution is worthwhile. Since this is the time of year for outdoor field trips, we have reviewed the matter with our district physician who suggested that parents follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin*

·      Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Follow manufacturer instructions.

·      Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.

·      Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/

Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body*

·         Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

·     Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. 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 gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.

·     Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.) 

Outdoor fun continues to be an important part of a child’s journey and should not be restricted for fear of ticks. Simple precautions can help keep children safe. If you have any questions about your child’s health, please contact your private physician. Thank you.

 

www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/

Tick Removal

If you find a tick attached to your skin, there is no need to panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick quite effectively. Prompt and proper tick removal is very important for preventing possible disease transmission.

How to remove a tick

1.      Use fine-tipped tweezers and protect your fingers with a tissue, paper towel, or latex gloves. Avoid removing ticks with your bare hands.


2.      Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.


3.      After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach.


 

Follow-up

If you begin to experience a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.