CHOC Children's
COMMON INJURY/POISON :: Insect Bites

Tick Bites

Ticks are small insects that live in grass, bushes, wooded areas, and seashores. They attach their bodies onto a human or animal host and prefer hairy areas such as the scalp, behind the ear, in the armpit and groin, and also between fingers and toes. Tick bites often occur at night and occur more in the spring and summer months.

What to do if you find a tick on your child:

  • Do not touch the tick with your bare hand. If you do not have a pair of tweezers, take your child to your nearest healthcare facility where the tick can be removed safely.
  • Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to your child's skin as possible.
  • Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until it lets go. Do not squeeze the tick, use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives, or a lit match to kill the tick.
  • Save the tick and place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if necessary.
  • Wash the area of the bite well with soap and water and apply an antiseptic lotion or cream.
  • Call your child's physician to find out about follow-up care and testing of the tick for spirochetes (organisms that may be carried by the tick).

Regardless of how careful you are about animals in your home, or how many precautions you take when your child is outdoors playing, animal and insect bites and stings are sometimes unavoidable.

By remaining calm and knowing some basic first-aid techniques, you can help your child overcome both the fear and the trauma of bites and stings.

While most tick bites are harmless, some species can cause very serious diseases. Two of these well-known diseases are Lyme disease caused by the deer tick and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever caused by the dog tick.

Both diseases require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below is some additional information about these diseases, for which we have provided a brief overview.

If you cannot find the information in which you are interested, please visit the Common Childhood Injuries and Poisonings Online Resources page in this Web site for an Internet/World Wide Web address that may contain additional information on that topic.

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.

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