The Truth About Ticks and Why You Should Protect Your Kids From These Bloodsuckers


Ticks are pests that plague animals, especially pets, like dogs. We don’t usually think that ticks can bite or harm our children. But ticks are actually pretty harmful. Infected bugs can carry and transmit grave illnesses, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Because ticks suck blood, they could easily obtain infected blood from other sources and transmit this while feeding on an uninfected animal or human. There are some species of ticks that also cause tick paralysis. This condition is not brought about by a harmful virus passed on by a tick. A tick can cause the paralysis because of a certain toxin that it injects as it bites and sucks blood. Luckily, the paralysis is not permanent; but it could last for a few days. Healthy individuals recover quickly. The most at risk are young children.

What to Do When Your Child Is Bitten

When you see a creature that has attached itself to a person’s skin, the image can definitely make your skin crawl. On top of that, the tick does not just bite; it sucks blood. Generally, ticks can bite on any exposed skin. Ticks that cause paralysis are usually those that have attached themselves on the back of the neck.

In case you see a tick on your child’s skin, do not panic. There are several ways to remove the tick. Here are two ways to remove ticks on the skin.

1. Use tweezers or forceps.

Get a pair of firm tweezers or curved forceps. Grip the tick firmly, and then, slowly but steadily pull it off. If you yank or twist, you’ll most likely leave its mouth part embedded in the skin. Furthermore, do not use your bare hands because it’s unsanitary, and you won’t be able to grasp the tiny critter properly as well. In case there are tick parts left on the skin, you can seek assistance from your pediatrician. He can give you instructions regarding removal.

2. Smother the tick with liquid detergent.

Another way is to use liquid detergent to remove an attached tick. First, immerse a cotton ball in liquid detergent. Then, place the cotton ball on the tick. Do not pull or twist. Let the liquid soap smother the tick. After a while, the tick suffocates and then it will release its hold on the skin. If you use this technique, you won’t have to worry about leaving mouth parts on the skin.

After removing ticks, make sure that you dispose of them properly. One way to do this is by preparing a jar or bottle with some alcohol or water in it. Simply drop the ticks inside. The creatures will drown in the liquid. Dispose of the water by flushing it in the toilet.

What about Antibiotic Treatment?

You can put a small amount of antibiotic cream on the site of the bite. But be sure to watch out for infection. In case there’s redness or swelling, consult a doctor. Also, doctors usually do not recommend a full course of antibiotic therapy for kids that have been bitten by ticks. However, if they suspect that a tick may have transferred a virus or disease, they could conduct further tests and also prescribe apt medication.

In order to make sure that the tick that bit your child wasn’t infectious, keep the dead tick in a jar and have this tested. By doing so, you’ll know if the tick was carrying dangerous microorganisms or not. You’ll have peace of mind if you know for sure.

Claire Brent is a freelance writer who regularly writes about common household pests and how to get rid of them using natural methods. She also blogs for Preventive Pest, a dependable pest control company that can take care of various kinds of nasty and damaging creatures.

photo by: Ernst Vikne

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