Ticks and Toddlers

Ticks and Toddlers

Since it’s that time of year, I thought I would write about an unfortunate experience a few weeks ago, when we found a tick engorged on S, one of our 2 year old twins.  No one in our family had ever had a tick before that we knew of, even the dog, so it was a learning experience that I thought would be helpful to share here.

I was washing S’s hair at bath time and felt something at the bottom of her scalp. I figured she had some food stuck in it, but then I looked closer and something was stuck in her scalp. I immediately called for my husband because I wasn’t sure what it was. On closer inspection we figured out it was a bug. I was completely freaked out and grossed out. A quick google search confirmed it was a tick, and the first thought immediately goes to Lyme disease, scary stuff.

First things first, we needed to get that thing off of her. We found two pairs of tweezers, but unfortunately, they were not fine tipped. First, my husband tried and couldn’t get it, then I tried and could not remove it. Finally, I got some jelly beans to calm S down and my husband was able to remove the tick completely. This was a 15 min process with three screaming children, admittedly not the greatest scene. If we had a more appropriate pair of tweezers, this might have been a much quicker process.

Now what? My husband called the doctor first thing the next day, this is what we were told:

  1. Treatment will not be given unless signs of Lyme disease are shown.
  2. Monitor your child for the following over the next 6-8 weeks:
    1. Bulls eye rash anywhere on the body, not just at the site of the bite.
    2. Flu like symptoms
    3. Achy joints
    4. Fever

Something that was discomforting was the only place S had been was in our yard and neighborhood, and we do not live in a heavily wooded area. This is a good reminder to remain vigilant in checking for ticks, no matter where you have been outside. It is also important to know only deer ticks can spread Lyme disease. I was at the doctor a couple weeks later for M’s 6 month checkup and I showed our pediatrician a photo of the tick while it was engorged. She took one look and said it was a dog tick and not a deer tick. This was good news, but I will say, I’m still not 100% convinced it was definitely a dog tick and we are continuing to monitor S for signs. The good news is it’s been 3-4 weeks and S has none of the symptoms listed above.

Based on our experience I recommend the following:

  1. Check your pets and all family members daily for ticks.
  2. Invest in a pair of fine tipped tweezers or tweezers made for tick removal.
  3. If you have pets give them flea and tick medicine.
  4. Depending on where you live, spray your yard for ticks.

This was a scary experience and we are so thankful that S has had no signs of Lyme disease, so far. For more information, see the attached file that was sent around at my work, it has a lot of useful tips. You can also check out the CDC website:

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Centers for Disease and Control Prevention – Ticks

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