Ticks are a way of life in our region. Once the spring and summer arrive and your family spends more time outside, you will most likely find a tick crawling one or more of you. What do you need to do next? Read on to find out more information….
- Can I prevent tick bites? Yes! Wear an insect repellent that contains DEET or clothing that has been treated with permetherin.
- How do I remove the tick? When you find a tick, remove it as soon as you can. Using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upward from the skin with steady pressure; do no twist or jerk the tick. If you are not able to remove the entire tick, that’s okay! The skin’s natural healing ability will actually start to expel the parts on its own.
- What do I do with the site? Normal wound care is fine. Wash the site with soap and water and apply an antibacterial ointment (like Bacitracin or Neosporin).
- Should I be tested? Or should I start on medications right away? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) do not recommend routine testing unless there are symptoms suggestive of Lyme disease, such as a bulls-eye rash or a single swollen joint. The tick that transmits Lyme disease must be attached for greater than 36 hours in order to transmit the bacteria.
- Are there other diseases that are spread by tick bites? Lyme disease is, by far, the most common tick-borne illness that we see in our region. There are a few others, however:
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is a condition spread by a different tick than Lyme disease. Despite its name, it is far more common in the southeastern US and causes fever and a spotted rash all over.
- Anaplasmosis, a syndrome of fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and abdominal pain, is found more commonly in the midwestern US, but cases have been reported in the eastern US as well.
- Powassan disease, a rare condition that can cause fever, headache, vomiting, and weakness. In even more rare cases, it can progress to significant neurological symptoms, such as seizures, confusion, or a change in mental status.
The vast majority of tick bites need only symptomatic care as described above and do not progress to further disease or need for antibiotics. If your child is bitten by a tick and you have questions, please do not hesitate to call our office and discuss their symptoms.