It is tick season in East Tennessee. Ticks can be found nearly everywhere and can carry harmful germs which can make us sick. If you spot a tick on your child, don’t panic, but removing it properly is important.
Dr. Ryan Redman, emergency room director at Children’s Hospital, says Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is the most common tick-borne disease he sees at Children’s Hospital. Lyme disease is also seen, but is much less common.
Signs and symptoms of tick-borne illness include a red, dot-like rash with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; a bullseye shaped rash with Lyme disease; or flu-like symptoms including fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting and muscle/joint aches.
To properly remove ticks, use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at the head or mouth next to the skin. Pull firmly and steadily until the tick lets go of the skin. Wash hands and area of the bite with soap and water. Swab the bite with alcohol.
Never twist the tick or rock from side to side when removing with tweezers. Part of the tick can remain in the skin.
Never use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove a tick. These methods don’t get tick off the skin, and can actually cause the tick to burrow deeper and release more saliva into the skin.
Use tick repellent for clothes or skin. Always follow instructions for safe application and never use on infants. After being outdoors, check for ticks, change clothes, and take a shower