In many parts of the country, spring is starting to spring and so are the unwanted bugs. Many insects and arachnids breed at the beginning of spring, which means that these pests are out in abundance and feeding more frequently than usual. Ticks are one of the scariest pests because of the way that they feed and the severity of the diseases that they carry. Children are especially susceptible to ticks because they are more likely to go into the woods and tall grasses where ticks dwell and are less likely to notice the tick until it has latched on.
Ticks feed by latching onto a host and inserting the mouth parts into the host. The saliva acts as an anesthetic and anticoagulant, so hosts are unaware of the tick and the blood flows freely without clotting. If many ticks are present on a child, it can lead to anemia and other issues with blood loss. If a tick goes unnoticed for too long, it can burrow into the child’s skin, making it difficult to remove. When a tick is removed, it is important to make sure that all parts are removed from under the skin, as infection can result from tick pieces that are left inside the wound. Ticks may also carry diseases such a Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which may cause severe illness and even death.
Preventing Tick Illnesses
Children may apply insect repellant to repel ticks, but labels should be read regarding potency to avoid adverse reactions. Checking children for ticks on a regular basis and after outdoor play can help parents to avoid tick illnesses. Ticks prefer hiding spots on the body, such as under the hair and behind the ears, so it is important to do thorough examinations. If ticks are spotted, they should be removed immediately with tweezers. After removal, the area should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. If signs of infection or inflammation occur, medical treatment should be sought.