What to Do if your Child Gets a Tick

Ticks. Eeew. Just the name itself conjures a generous dose of revulsion for the blood-sucking parasites; and usually, their inherent grossness is the extent of their malevolence–but sometimes, they can harbour disease-causing bacteria, too. Here’s what to do if you spot one on your child.

Little legs

Ticks bide their time in tall grass, woodland and heath areas, so a family walk is prime opportunity for the critters to hitch a lift on some unsuspecting food source–especially kids, who tend to wade through overgrown spots instead of keeping to clear paths.

Make it routine to check your child after such excursions; you’ll likely find any stowaways around the waist or in the scalp/hairline. (Tick bites are painless, so the only way to determine if there’s been a bite is to look.)

A tick

Ticks start off about the size of a poppy seed. It’s only once they’ve begun to gorge on their host’s blood that they balloon to look like this:

What to do if your child is bitten by a tick:

  1. Grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull upwards with steady pressure.
  2. Try not to twist, jerk, or squeeze the insect. You need to get the whole tick out, not leaving any bits behind.
  3. Once you’ve removed the tick, clean bite area with antiseptic.
  4. Consider keeping the tick contained in case your child falls ill, so your GP can test it for Lyme disease.

Prime UK locations for tick infestations include:

  • Exmoor
  • The New Forest and other rural areas of Hampshire
  • The South Downs
  • Parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire
  • Parts of Surrey and West Sussex
  • Thetford Forest in Norfolk
  • The Lake District
  • The North York Moors
  • The Scottish Highlands

If your child develops what is known as a ‘bullseye’ rash – big, round, and red–this may be a symptom of Lyme disease contracted by a tick bite, and you should contact your doctor immediately.

For more information on ticks and treatment, see the Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness UK (BADA) website.

Via madeformums