Looking for information on a tick? You have come to the right place!
This last week we set out to the Sequoia National Park. (Here is the ultimate traveling guide to Sequoia National Park). While there we learned everything there was to know about ticks! Why you ask?? After a short hike on our first day, my son woke up the next morning with one embedded in his neck! WHAT??? My son crawled up in bed with me in the early hours of the morning complaining of pain in his shoulder. Pulling him up close to me I asked him what had happened. He didn’t know, so I pulled his shirt down and began my motherly inspection and saw what looked like a mole. The only problem was, my son didn’t have a mole there. I felt it with my fingers and felt a bump over this dark dot on his neck.
I wondered next if he had received a puncture wound from a tree or a stick causing blood to ooze out and form a scab….Nope…he quickly informed me that this didn’t happen. This is when I pulled out my flashlight on my phone and shined it on this black dot. I soon observed this black dot had TINY LITTLE LEGS sticking out of it!!
IT WAS A TICK!!
Where I live, ticks aren’t really something we have to worry about too much, and now there was one feasting on my son! I have a dear friend who has Lymes disease from a tick from when she was little, so my mommy brain went in hypermode! I jumped off our bed to find my husband and quickly told him what happened. This is where we probably did everything wrong in the book. Many of us were taught to burn the tick out, or put nail polish, oil, petroleum jelly, or liquid over it to suffocate it, forcing it to back out. Well of course….it sounds good. We got the matches and started trying to burn the tick out. Well……..we ended up frying the darn thing.
At this point we didn’t know what to do, and was unsure of the possibilities and harm this little ugly thing could cause. So we decided to head into a clinic to get it removed. It was about a 30 minute ride to the clinic. After I had done some research online, we decided to stop and pull the tick out with tweezers. The only problem was, it wouldn’t come out and was pulling the skin along with it. We continued to the clinic where the tick was removed in pieces and we were educated on what to do in the future. I want to share this information with you so you aren’t like us and do everything wrong.
The key to ticks is prevention. If you are going in an area up in the mountains, be prepared and spray yourself and kids with bug spray that repels ticks. Wear long pants and shoes. You can even tuck your kids shoes in their socks if you really want to go all out.
After every hike you go on, brush off your clothes and help each other do a quick clothes check. When you take a bath or get in your jammies that night, do a quick skin check. Don’t only check the skin, but also check the scalp. Many times individuals do not feel the tick bite or realize they have a tick burrowing into their skin.
How to remove a tick
DON’Ts- There has been lots of different ways we have all been taught to remove a tick, but they have found that many of them irritates the tick and cause it to act like a syringe, and inject different fluids into the human. Don’t burn the tick……we did, and we killed it! Didn’t work! Don’t put nail polish, petroleum jelly (vaseline) liquid soap or anything else that you may believe may suffocate the tick causing it to back out.
Our first reaction was to burn it out. That was how we were taught. We got our match and burned it….It wiggled but didn’t move out. We continued but it never backed out. We ended up killing the darn thing. NO BUENO!
Here is THE RIGHT THING to do:
- Use tweezers by placing the tweezers on the top and bottom of the tick
- Get as close as you can to the skin surface as possible
- Pull backwards gently but firmly. Don’t jerk or twist the body.
- If it breaks, try and remove as much as you can without digging or causing too much skin irritation.
- Wash the skin thoroughly with soap and water.
- If the mouth or any part of the tick is still in the wound, leave it alone. It will come out on its own.
- Take note of the size and color of the tick, if the tick was engorged (full of blood), and how long the tick was attached. This information will be helpful in determining the risk of Lymes Disease.
The tick that carries Lymes Disease is a brown deer tick. They are about the size of a poppy seed or a pencil point, so very small. The one that decided to feed off of my son was bigger than this. Deer ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lymes disease in their stomach. Once the tick has a blood meal, the warmth from the blood activates the bacteria and excretes through the salivary glands of the tick which then is injected into the bite.
The tick that usually spreads Lymes disease doesn’t eat for 24 hours after arriving on the skin. This is why it is so important to do skin checks after a hike. If you can catch a tick bite before it starts feeding on you, it will prevent the transfer of Lymes Disease.
FYI: Much of this information came from the doctor who treated my son and also a print out she provided us with from this website.
Moral of the story….do a quick skin check after you are in an area where ticks are prevalent. Good luck and hope this helps you! What’s your experience with ticks?
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