Ticks: Things You Need to Know

Dr. Peter Chmiel

Most tick bites are harmless, but there is an increasing awareness of Lyme Disease present in some of the ticks we find here in Ontario. Not all ticks carry Lyme Disease, so here are a few things to be aware of.

Ticks do not fly or jump. They rather hang off tall grasses and wait for something or someone to grab on to. After any outdoor adventure, make it routine to inspect your child’s skin that day, say at bath time.

If you find a tick, it's best to remove it as soon as possible. KEEP IT. Put it (alive or dead) into any sealable small container (just so it doesn’t get away). Labs can inspect collected ticks to identify species and for the presence of Lyme bacteria. Please visit this link for some more Tick facts.

Removing a tick within 24 to 36 hours of its starting to feed is likely to prevent any possibility of Lyme Disease.

When it comes to Lyme Disease, please let your doctor know if:

  • You cannot get the tick out, or you think the tick has been latched to your child for a long period of time.
  • You note a rash related to a tick bite; it appears as a “target” lesion and grows like a ripple in the water. This typically does not happen until 1 -2 weeks after the bite.
  • You think the bite site itself is infected.
  • Your child develops symptoms including fever, headaches, fatigue, stiff neck or muscles, or muscle aches. This also happens a while after the initial bite.

Prevention strategies mostly focus on the avoidance of tick bites:

  • When playing in wooden/grassy areas, kids should wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and tuck pant legs into their socks. Check them afterwards anyway.
  • You can apply insect repellent, with at least 10% to 30% DEET for protection against bites and stings in kids older than 2 years.
  • If warned or advised, avoid tick-infested areas.
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