School’s out, the pool is open and the great outdoors is suddenly THE place to be. At least, for your 4-year-old. Along with all the sun and fun of the summer months come critters, creatures and creepy crawlies. While earth worms and butterflies are interesting and pretty much awesome, ticks are not. When it comes to what parents need to know about ticks, the more info you have, the better. So what do you need to know to protect your child? Check out the top tick topics and tips (try saying that 10 times fast!) that may just change the way that your kids play in the summer.

Remove Ticks Safely

If you see a tick on your child, resist the urge to grab and pull. This may not fully remove the tick. The CDC recommends using fine-tipped tweezers to pull the tick up and out of the skin. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible, and use even pressure as you remove it. It’s possible that the head and mouth may break off. Go back in and tweeze these out too. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol after the entire tick is out. Don’t throw the tick in the trash. Put it in a sealed bag or container and cover it with alcohol or wrap it tightly (and completely) in tape.

Prevention Is Key

Long pants and long sleeves can help to reduce the likelihood of tick bites. But it’s not always practical to cocoon your kiddo up on a humid mid-August day. Here’s where prevention comes in. Use repellents, check for ticks often and make sure that your child showers/bathes after coming inside from outdoor play. The CDC recommends that you never use insect repellents on babies under 2-months and carefully select the types of repellent you use with kids under 3-years. Anything that contains oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol is a no-no.

Check Your Kids Because Ticks Can Hide

Mom Jessica Griffin knows all about the dangers of a hidden tick. When her 5-year-old daughter Kailyn experienced a sudden, and temporary, paralysis, the mom was just about as confused as any other parent would be. That’s when the mom found something funny in her daughter’s hair—a tick.

Writing on her Facebook page, Griffin said, “We had a bit of a scare this morning! Kailyn woke up and couldn’t walk! I was just thinking that her legs were asleep until I noticed that she could hardly talk!” One very scary trip to the hospital later, the doctor’s diagnosed the little girl with tick paralysis. Luckily, Kailyn is up and walking again. But this story is a cautionary tale, telling you to check your kiddo for ticks everywhere. And this includes their scalp and hair.

Be Aware That Bites Are On the Rise

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito, flea and tick bite-borne illnesses have tripled from 2004 to 2016. With more than 640,000 cases of illnesses caused by these insects reported (again, between 2004 and 2016), the importance of protection is pretty clear here.

Talk to the Doc

Concerns about a tick bite should go to the pro. Call your pediatrician and let them know about the bite. They’ll give you a list of symptoms (such as a rash or fever) to look out for. If your child has any of the symptoms or you have concerns, schedule an appointment ASAP.

—Erica Loop

Featured Photo: Mcconnmama via Pixabay


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