TICKS 101 - South Shore Moms

Ticks Ticks Ticks… it seems to come up on the daily. I checked in with my favorite NP, you may have seen her Meet a Mom earlier this week. This is what she had to say on the Tick Topic:

As the weather warms and we start to come out and be about, so do the bugs. Ugh! Sometimes they are just a nuisance and sometimes they can have serious health impacts. The incidence of tick borne illnesses has been increasing steadily. So what should you do…check daily for ticks in hard to see places – and on pets!

What happens when I find a tick?

If you find one remove it – sometimes easier said then done. With larger ticks, you can try placing a soap soaked cotton ball on the tick for 30 seconds, the tick may stick to the cotton ball when its lifted! (That’s the easy and preferable method). If that does not work, time for the fine point tweezers and depending on the age of your child maybe a second set of hands to keep them calm and still-ish. One of the only proven methods to reduce anxiety about procedures is distraction, so this might be the time to whip out a show on the iPad. Ok, back to technique- grab the tick at the head with the fine point tweezers- pull straight out, without twisting. You want the whole thing, including the head out of there. Tiny deer ticks can be pressed/scraped off with the edge of a clean credit card. Wash the area with warm soapy water afterwards. If you don’t feel comfortable removing the tick call your provider.


Ok, I’ve got the tick… now what?

Place between scotch tape or in a ziplock baggie. If you would like, ticks can be saved and sent to the UMass Lab to test for disease causing pathogens. http://www.tickdiseases.org/ There are also private labs that can test the tick. Keep your eyes peeled, it is important to monitor for any changes in health, development of new symptoms or concerns and talk to your provider. Sometimes prophylactic- or preventative antibiotics- can be given if a deer tick is found and there is a concern for Lyme transmission, however, these antibiotics can not be given to children younger than 8.

So whats the deal with DEET?
DEET has been around for a long time and has been used ALOT, it is considered safe by the American Academy of Pediatrics and can be used in children at least 2 months old. It’s been shown to be effective in repelling ticks and insects. A concentration of 10 percent is likely as effective as higher concentrations, the percentage reflects how long its effective for (10 percent is usually about 2 hours). Kids have busy hands that sometimes end up in eyes and mouths so DEET spray should not be applied to children’s hands. Do a good scrubba dub of their skin with soapy water once you return inside and toss clothing that has been sprayed into the laundry (because you inevitably always have more laundry to do).
Avoid sunscreen/repellent combos because sunscreen needs to be reapplied more frequently than DEET.  https://healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Insect-Repellents.aspx

The Department of Public Health has tick ID cards that can be ordered to help you determine the type of tick you find.  https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/01/02/Tick%20Identification%20Card.jpg

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