Ticks are most active from April to September, essentially, when it is warm outside.
During these months, if you are spending time in or around wooded, high grass, or brush-filled areas, here are some precautions to take:
Walk in the center of trails. Ticks don’t jump. They love to hide out in high grass and fallen leaves, and wait to be brushed up against. They also love attaching to your furry friends.
Tuck pant legs in to socks. Wear light colored (makes attached ticks more visible), long sleeved clothing.
Use an insect repellent with 10- 20% DEET. For application on children older than 2 years, spray it on to your hands and apply it to your child. Avoid the eyes, hands, mouth and any open areas on the skin.
Other products include permethrin, which you can spray onto clothes and shoes. If you’re hiking or camping a lot, you can actually buy clothing and gear pretreated with permethrin. Do not apply to portions of clothing your child might suck on or chew.
“Natural” products have some repellant qualities but may not be quite as effective as commercial insect repellants. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is a commonly used natural product.
The EPA has a helpful search tool to Find the Repellant that is Right for You
Shower soon after returning from the outdoors and perform thorough tick checks from head to toe. It is important to feel through your child’s hair. If your dog accompanied you on the outdoor adventure, be sure to check its skin and fur for ticks as well!
Using a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin and pull up with a steady pressure.
Avoid jerking or twisting the tick so no parts will be left behind.
Clean the area with either soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
Do not apply nail polish, petroleum jelly or heat to aid in removal. They do not work well, may cause the tick to try to burrow more and release more saliva, and in the case of heat may burn or harm your child’s skin.
Ticks can transmit several infectious diseases. Though Lyme is the most well-known, there can be others too depending on the part of the country where the tick exposure occurred.
Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks only. The tick must feed for at least 24-36 hours and be engorged with blood to have transmitted Lyme disease. The classic bull’s eye rash may appear anywhere from 3-30 days after the bite. The rash is typically red, circular, and ringed with alternating clearing and redness. It may remind you or your child of the Target logo.
The rash of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever appears 2-5 days after a fever. It starts out as flat, pink spots on the wrists, ankles and forearms which spread inward toward the trunk of the body. The rash may change to a red to purple spotted rash after one week.
These are the two we’re most likely to see in RVA, but there are yet other tick-borne diseases beyond the scope of this post.
Please call us for an office visit if your child develops fever, chills, rash or aches (head, neck, muscles, and/or joints) after a tick bite.
In some instances, a single preventive dose of an antibiotic called doxycycline may be used to lower the likelihood of getting Lyme disease following a known tick bite. We follow the most recent CDC clinical guidelines for such prescriptions.
Please call or send a portal message if you think your child might be eligible for Lyme prophylaxis. A member of our clinical team will ask clarifying questions and help determine what is best and appropriate for your child.
For more information visit: