Coronavirus Update:What patients and families need to know
Pediatric Tick Bites
What are 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.
Regardless of how careful people are about animals in the home, or how many precautions are taken when children play outdoors, animal and insect bites and stings are sometimes unavoidable.
Remain calm and practice the following first-aid techniques in order to help the child overcome both the fear and the trauma of bites and stings:
- Do not touch the tick with the bare hand. If no tweezers are available, take the child to the 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 the child's skin as possible.
- Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until the tick 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 the 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).
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.
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Sometimes a mom’s intuition is all it takes to get her child to the right physician. When 8-year-old Xavion Chisley developed a fungal infection on his toe, his mother, Nikki, immediately took him to see a dermatologist who removed his toenail to treat the infection. However, when Xavion’s toenail grew back, the infection had not diminished but actually appeared to be spreading to his foot.
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