Fresh air and vitamin D are two of the benefits of sending your children outdoors to play. With perks come pests. In particular, ticks, when your family is exploring Colorado outdoors. While ticks are typically a minor nuisance, they can be vectors for serious diseases. It’s important to remove them quickly and without leaving their head under the skin.
Any time your little ones play in grassy or wooded areas, check the following body parts:
- In and around hair
- In and around ears
- Inside the belly button
- Between the legs
- On the back of knees
All clothing should be checked and tossed in the wash on high heat to ensure a stowaway doesn’t sneak past your inspection.
Ticks feed on blood by burrowing their heads into the skin. If you spot a tick somewhere on you or your child, follow these removal tips:
- Soak a warm, wet cotton ball in soapy water. Apply it to the infected skin for 30 seconds. When you remove it, the tick should come with it.
- Remove the tick with your hands or tweezers by grasping its head. Do not jerk or twist the tweezers, as that could cause the head to detach from the body and remain under the skin. If this does happen, the rest will eventually fall out, but call your pediatrician and have your child tested for Lyme disease.
- Clean the bite area with warm soap and water before applying an antibiotic ointment.
Preventing Tick Bites
It’s easier to prevent tick bites than remove them.
- Dress your children in long sleeves and long pants before playing outdoors. Tuck the bottom of their pants into shoes and socks.
- Apply insect repellent to all exposed skin, which also keeps away mosquitos and other insects.
- Treat clothing with insect repellant.
- Be cautious about walking in humid and moist areas such as leaves, wooded or grassy areas.
When to Call Your Doctor
Bring in your child to a pediatrician for treatment if:
- Removal of the tick is unsuccessful.
- The tick has been burrowed in the skin for more than 24 hours.
- Flu-like symptoms spark including fever, headache, fatigue, vomiting and body aches.
- Circular, red rashes appear near infected areas.
- Red dots on the ankles and wrists appear on your child.
- The bite becomes warm, swelling or oozing.