It's tick season and it seems like we hear about Lyme disease everyday. I live in a very wooded area which means I worry all the time. I thought I was being a bit of a worry-wart, so I asked our pediatrician. It turns out she worries, too.
Dr. Jennifer Miller is on staff at Western New York Pediatrics and she's also a mom. "I have three kids of my own and I worry about it," she said. "We always say if there is a tick on your child, come in to the office and we will remove it here."
That's not necessary, but a good idea, especially if you aren't sure how to properly remove a tick. Miller said if you decide to remove the tick yourself, be sure to grasp it firmly at the head or mouth next to the skin. Pull firmly and steadily, straight out, until the tick lets go. Never twist the tick because it could fall apart, leaving some of the tick in the skin. Once you have it completely removed, swab the site with alcohol.
It is important to be vigilant. Check your pets and your children often. The ticks will hide in areas tough to see, like the nape of the neck that is covered by hair. To prevent tick bites, use repellent on children ages 2 and older. Never use it on infants and spray it on clothing for young children, not their skin. Dress your kids in long sleeves and socks and shoes if camping or spending time in a wooded area. Check them when they come in, before, during and after a shower or bath.
Miller said the trick is not to freak-out. "Ticks can be found just about everywhere, but you really shouldn't panic about it. They have to be on someone's skin for about 24 to 48 hours to transmit any disease and not all ticks do carry disease."
There are many types of ticks; only deer ticks carry Lyme disease. If you find a tick on yourself or your child and are concerned, call or visit your doctor or an urgent care facility. You can find more information on the Centers for Disease Control website.