Many parents believe ticks are only a risk during the spring months—but the reality is, ticks are on the prowl throughout summer and fall as well. Areas with cold winters are unlikely to see many ticks during those months, but they’re certainly an issue during other types of year.
It’s also common for people to forget exactly why ticks are a problem. Sure, they’re a bit creepy and unpleasant, especially with their ability to climb up your legs without being noticed. But that’s not the really troubling thing. Ticks can carry bacterial infections, most notably Lyme disease. This is a serious infection with symptoms like fever, headache and rash. Usually, Lyme disease is successful treated with a course of antibiotics—but it can pose serious risks if left untreated, and it’s certainly not something you want to take lightly for yourself or your kids.
People typically use insect repellent to protect against mosquitos and biting flies, but did you know that most repellents also offer good protection against ticks? Any insect repellent that contains picaridin or DEET is known to be effective against these unwanted visitors; or if you prefer a natural tick repellent, try citrus or eucalyptus oil.
Part of what makes ticks so dangerous is that they’re difficult to detect. People are often amazed to discover ticks on their person, since they never felt anything crawling on their skin. While it is often possible to feel a tick making its way up your body, it’s also an easy thing to miss. That’s why routine checks are so important, especially when your kids have been playing in grass or amongst trees. Ticks will often find their way into your child’s hair, but it’s also important to check the naval, groin and armpits. Ticks can be found anywhere on the body, but finding them in “hidden” areas is most common. A thorough check after outdoor play is highly recommended.
Ticks are sneaky, tiny creatures whose prolonged presence can pose serious health risks. Many parents report success with putting their kids’ clothing in the dryer for 5-10 minutes after possible tick exposures, to make sure any ticks lingering in the clothing are done away with. A hot shower with a careful manual check is also a good protective measures, and parents can teach their children to check themselves properly for ticks.
Know the symptoms
If a tick does go unnoticed, your child may exhibit any or all of the following symptoms:
- Pain in the joints
- Skin rash
Head immediately to your nearest urgent care center if you suspect your child is suffering symptoms of tick bites; and don’t forget to check yourself!
Keeping ticks outside where they belong
The keys to protecting your children from ticks are knowing where ticks come from, why they latch onto the human body, and how to identify the symptoms of tick bites. This allows you to take the proper precautions and keep your children well-protected throughout the year spring, summer and fall.