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Ticks at LTS

This letter is to inform you that several ticks have been found and removed from students.  

While most ticks are harmless and don’t require medical treatment, some ticks (like the deer tick, lone star tick, and others) can carry harmful germs and cause diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.  The deer tick is tiny, no larger than a pencil point. Other ticks are larger and easier to find on the skin.

Think Prevention

  • Wear appropriate clothing:  If children are playing in wooded areas, they should wear long sleeved shirts and pants, and tuck pant legs into their socks. 
  • Conduct a full-body tick check: Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair. 
  • Examine clothes and gear: Ticks can ride into the home on clothing, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine coats, and day packs. Tumbling clothes in a dryer on the highest heat for at least one hour may help kill remaining ticks. 
  • Shower soon after being outdoors: Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick. 
  • Repellents containing 20% or more DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied to the skin, and they can protect up to several hours. Always follow product instructions! Other products are available also not containing DEET.

What to do if you find a tick attached:

If the tick is still attached to the skin:

  • I highly recommend using a tool called “Ticked Off” to remove ticks. Most local vet offices have them for sale, pharmacies, or may be ordered online.
  • Another option is using fine-tipped tweezers, grasp the head of the tick close to the skin.
  • Firmly and steadily pull the tick straight out of the skin.  
  • Do not twist the tick or rock it from side to side while removing it.                                                            
  • Put tick in a sealed container or zip-locked bag and save it to show the doctor if your child becomes ill.
  • Do not use petroleum jelly or a hot match to kill and remove the tick.
  • Wash area with soap and water or swab the area with rubbing alcohol. 
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to site also if available.

Signs & Symptoms of Tick-Related Diseases:

  • Fever/chills: With all tick-borne diseases, patients can experience fever at varying degrees and time of onset. 
  • Aches and pains: Tick-borne disease symptoms include headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. With Lyme disease you may also experience joint pain. The severity and time of onset of these symptoms can depend on the disease and the patient’s personal tolerance level. 
  • Rash: From three to 30 days after an infected tick bite, an expanding red area might appear that sometimes clears in the center, forming a bull’s-eye pattern. However, not everyone with lyme disease develops the rash.

Tick-borne diseases can result in mild symptoms treatable at home to severe infections requiring hospitalization. Although easily treated with antibiotics, these diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose. However, early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications. See your doctor immediately if your child may have been bitten by a tick and experiences any of the symptoms described above.  

Only a minority of tick bites leads to Lyme disease. The longer the tick remains attached to your skin, the greater your risk of getting the disease. Lyme infection is unlikely if the tick is attached for less than 36 to 48 hours.

For more information about ticks, visit the Center for Disease Control Site http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html

Sincerely,

Tara Prue, RN

School Nurse LTS

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