Tick season is here! We would like to give you some information that will be helpful for you and your children.
Lets start with signs and symptoms of a tick bite. Obviously if you see a tick on your child, you should remove it as soon as possible to prevent the tick from embedding into the skin. If it is embedded, remove the entire tic including the head. Initially, the bite may be red and puffy like a mosquito bite.
The tick must be embedded in the skin for 72 hours to transmit Lyme disease. Not all ticks transfer Lyme disease. Our office does not treat prophylactically for a tick bite. Blood tests to detect Lyme disease should not be done before 3 weeks after the bite unless your child is having symptoms.
If Lyme disease was transmitted with a bite, your child may develop a fever, chills, muscle fatigue, swollen glands, and a bulls eye rash. The rash can be anywhere on the body, not just at the site of the bite. At this point we would treat your child for Lyme disease.
Many people have asked about sending the tick to a lab to be tested for Lyme disease. Our office does not recommend this as the CDC states that these labs are not required to have quality control testing. Also, the tick can test positive for Lyme disease but not transmit it to your child through the bite.
Please refer to CDC.gov for detailed information on tick bites. Tick removal is also outlined there.
The best thing to do is prevent the tick bites. Prior to going outside, pretreat clothes with permethrin. The permethrin affects the ticks nervous system which makes them fall off of your clothes. It will also kill the tick. Our previous blog discusses the use of DEET prior to going outside.
If you have any questions, feel free to call and speak with our triage nurses!