DISCOVER
×

Video transcription

Hi. I'm Doctor David Hill, and today we're going to remove a tick from a child. Now, ticks are rampant throughout the summer. They can also be present in the fall and in the winter. The activity, and also in spring of course. The activity of the ticks definitely goes down in the colder weather, but they're always around to some extent. Now, there's not a lot grosser than finding a tick somewhere on your child. If your child's been outside, hiking or in tall grass, it's a good idea to have them sort of strip down at bath time or shower time, and get a look. And look in the places that ticks like, look at their groin, look at their armpit, look up in the hairline or even in the hair, every night. If you find a tick, don't panic. The vast, vast, vast majority of tick bites do not lead to scary things like Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, Lime disease or Eirlicheosis, all diseases that are borne by ticks. Most tick bites d absolutely fine and you don't need to rush your child to the doctor for testing just because you found a tick on them. The big question now is, I found a tick, how do I get it off safely? The idea is that you don't want to squeeze the tick's abdomen. The tick has bee feeding on blood. And if there are germs in that tick, and you squeeze the abdomen, you might squeeze some of that blood and the germs back into the child. So you want to get the tick off without squeezing the belly. Your other goal is not to leave the tick's head or mouth parts attached to or inserted in the child. If you look at a tick with a magnifying glass or a microscope, you'd see that they have mouth parts, little fangs kind of things, that stick down into the skin. And when the tick is attached, he or usually she, will glue herself on to the skin with a sort of sticky saliva at the head. The head provides a really firm attachment that allows the tick to stay on, even though the child maybe running around or jumping up and down. The mouth parts sort of fold under the tick's head so that they're inserted and kind of down. So, you don't want to just lift the tick straight back. It looks like that's what you want to do, but don't. Ideally, you'd pick the tick's body up with a pair of forceps or fine tweezers. There are even some commercially available instruments for this purpose that have a little V shape in them that you can buy relatively inexpensively at drug stores or camping stores. And you want to lift the tick's body up first, or even flip the tick over so that she's on her back. At that point, grasping the head rather than the belly, you want to gently and steadily remove the mouth parts. Now, maybe you did this successfully, maybe you didn't. You can't always get 'em. The good news is, normally a foreign body reaction will form that looks kind of what happens if your child gets a splinter that will force those mouth parts out eventually. Now, there are some things to look for if there are imbedded mouth parts of the tick. Sometimes you might get some pus, or head forming or redness, or tenderness. We never like to see those things because they may imply an infection of the skin. So, if you see that there is a tick attachment, and now you have pus or redness, or something that looks like a pimple or a boil, you want the doctor to get a look at that, to see if anything more needs to be done. The other thing we do not like to see is what's called a target lesion. After I just reassured you about Lime disease, I'm going to give you just a little warning here. If you see sort of a spreading red circle around where the tick bit, that's sort of clear in the middle, that's a good indication your child may have contracted Lime disease. We want to treat Lime as early as we suspect it. So, if you see that kind of rash, do bring your child in to a health care professional, who can diagnose and appropriately treat Lime, if that person thinks it's present. So, talking about how to get a tick off of your child, I'm Doctor David Hill.