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Tick Bites in Children

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

If you find a tick on your child, follow these steps:

  • Don't touch the tick with your bare hand.
  • 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. Don't squeeze the tick, and don't use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives or a lit match to kill the tick.
  • Don’t twist or jerk the tick. This can cause its mouth parts to break off. If the mouth-parts break off and remain in the skin, remove the parts with tweezers. If you can’t remove the mouth with clean tweezers, leave it alone and check with your provider.
  • Save the tick and place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if needed.
  • If you don't have a pair of tweezers, take your child to your nearest health care facility where the tick can be removed safely.
  • Once removed, wash the area of the bite well with soap and water and apply an antiseptic lotion or cream.
  • Wash your hands for at least five minutes with clean, running water and soap when you are done.
  • Call your child's health care provider to find out about follow-up care.

No matter how careful you are about animals in your home, or how much care you take when your child is outdoors playing, insect bites are sometimes unavoidable.

By staying calm and knowing some basic first aid, you can help your child overcome both the fear and the stress of bites.

Children's Team

Children's Team

Providers

Nada Harik

Nada Harik

Director, Fellowship Training Program
Infectious Diseases Specialist
Investigator, Children's National Research Institute
Departments

Departments

Dermatology

The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Hospital continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.