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Avoiding and Treating Tick Bites



Dr. Vicki Herrman, Boys Town Pediatrics

There are several tick borne illnesses that are very concerning so ticks are kind of a worrisome thing for us.  Avoiding ticks is fairly easy.  First of all, long sleeves, socks, shoes, long pants and gloves.  People will get them in their scalps too because they will fall out of trees or you'll rub against stuff so wearing a scarf or a little beanie will help.  You can also use insect repellants.  DEET containing insect repellants are recommended for kids over two months old.  They can be anywhere from ten percent to thirty percent.  The ten percent only lasts a couple of hours.  The thirty percent will last up to five hours.  Avoid the palms or anything that is going to go around the child's eyes or mouth.

Sometimes you'll get them and just see them crawling and those haven't attached yet.  You can just flick them off and destroy them.  The ones that are firmly attached sometimes take some effort to detach because you want to take the head parts out and not leave any foreign bodies under the skin for infection.  Generally you have to grasp them with a forceps and very gently pull them until they just kind of release.  Then just clean the area.

If there is a red ring around the site of the bite.  If there is any sign of infection like puss or anything.  If the child has a fever.  If the child is acting unusually.  And we never mind looking at them.  I look at kids with tick bites a lot and most of them are really benign but that's ok.  We don't mind checking them.

Ticks are a worrisome insect that parents must watch out for if their children play or camp outdoors during the summer months. Dr. Vicki Herrman, pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics, explains and offers tips to parents on how to avoid ticks from bothering their children, and what to do if one attaches to their child.