Nobody likes ticks. From animals to humans, frankly, we aren’t even convinced that ticks like ticks. They’re an unfortunate reality that we have to deal with when we go out in nature, and they have the ability to pop up in unexpected places.
This doesn’t mean that we should avoid going outside. At The Natural Patch Co., we know that nature helps us feel grounded and at peace. Not only that, but there’s no better place for our kids to get their excess energy out. What it does mean, though, is that we should always be vigilant, aware, and knowledgeable about what these bugs could have in store.
By being prepared for the possibility of ticks ahead of time, you lower the possibility of you and your kids having to deal with their many downsides firsthand. Throughout this article, we will explain why ticks do what they do, what you can expect, and how to deal with them once and for all.
Why Do Ticks Bite Us?
Although we like to think of ticks as evil incarnate, they don’t bite us for fun. No, they do it to suck our blood, which sounds worse.
But they don’t do it to be mean. Ticks use our blood as a food source so that they can lay eggs and continue their species. We don’t love it, but we know we’d do anything for our kids; why should ticks be any different?
Do Tick Bites Hurt?
Thankfully, getting bitten by a tick is generally painless. In fact, you or your kids are unlikely to even feel it. It’s their constant bloodsucking and transferral of fluids that lead to us having a reaction.
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Where Do Ticks Tend To Bite?
Ticks can bite about anywhere on the body, but there are a few spots that you should be sure to keep an eye on.
These annoying bloodsucking pests tend to frequent areas like:
- Back of the knee/legs
- Inside of the belly button (yes, really)
How Long Do Ticks Attach For?
This is a common question, and the answer will depend on where the tick is in its life cycle. Younger ticks will latch onto the skin for shorter amounts of time.
Adult ticks will require more blood to fertilize their young and, as such, will stay attached for longer. Younger ticks will remain for around three or four days, whereas adult female ticks will often stay attached for up to ten days.
The longer a tick remains attached to you or your child, the more likely they are to spread a bacteria or virus. Over time, we are exposed to an increasing amount of their saliva, making the risk higher as time goes on.
What To Do if You Find a Tick Bite on Your Child
If you’ve searched the areas on your child’s body that ticks tend to frequent and you’ve actually found one, it is understandable that you might feel a bit freaked out. Unlike most other kinds of bloodsucking insects, ticks will remain on their host, sucking blood until they have had their fill.
It’s hard to find something kind to say about mosquitoes, but at least they know to leave the scene of the crime afterward. Unfortunately, this decorum doesn’t seem to be in the cards for ticks, so there are a few more steps for dealing with a bite than with other bugs.
We’ll go over those steps more in-depth here:
What Do Tick Bites Look Like?
First, you should make sure that what you’re dealing with is actually a tick bite. If it isn’t, you might end up poking around with a pair of tweezers for nothing. This is already unlikely to be a particularly pleasant experience for you or your kid, so it’s best to avoid it if at all possible.
Some variation is possible when it comes to tick bites. After all, everyone has a different immune system that will react to the intrusion in its own way. The reaction to a tick bite occurs due to the tick’s saliva (which is also what carries the diseases and pathogens that make them so dangerous).
Depending on how your child’s immune system reacts, they may or may not experience itchiness on and around the site of the bite. They are likely to get a distinct red bump or welt where the tick has bitten. You’re better off finding the tick sooner rather than later, and preferably before it latches on and attaches.
When you find the tick faster, it’s significantly easier to detach it from your child’s skin. It will not have had much of a chance to transmit any diseases or cause discomfort yet. As a result, be sure to check your child after they come back from any places with tall grass and wooded areas.
If your child has a more severe reaction to the bite, like hives or a rash, it’s time to seek medical attention. If they have trouble breathing or go into a state of anaphylaxis, they will need medical help right away. These reactions are uncommon, but it’s always smart to be aware.
Carefully Remove the Tick
Now that you’ve successfully identified that you are dealing with none other than a tick, it’s time to remove the little sucker for good. To do this right, you can use a specialized tick removal tool, or a pair of precise tweezers will also work well. Before proceeding, thoroughly wash and sterilize your hands and the tool you’re using to remove the bug.
Now that everything is clean, grasp on the tick with the tweezers or tool. Once you have a steady grip, gently but firmly pull back, taking care not to twist the tick or the tweezers in the process. If you twist either of them, it can result in parts of the tick remaining lodged in the skin, which makes removal that much more complicated.
Even if you do manage to remove the tick in what seems like one piece, you should double-check the bite location to ensure that it’s all out. If there are pieces left, they’ll have to be removed.
Disinfect the Area
Congratulations, the grossest part is done! The tick is out of your kid’s skin, and soon you’ll be able to take your revenge. For now, carefully and fully disinfect the bite with soap and warm water, iodine, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer.
How To Dispose of a Tick
Honestly, we don’t feel bad about this part at all. If the tick wanted to get out unscathed, it never should have come for our kids.
To help keep your home disease-free, you can put the tick in a tightly sealed plastic bag and toss it or put it in rubbing alcohol. You might feel a deep-seated urge to crush it, but we advise against that since it can actually expose you to more diseases.
Now, we don’t want to scare anyone unduly: Not all ticks carry diseases. Chances of contracting Lyme Disease range from one to 50 percent, depending on numerous factors. Other diseases range in likelihood as well, so just because you were bitten doesn’t mean you have something to panic about immediately.
However, it’s smart to keep the body of the tick for a while just in case you need to have it sent to a lab and identified. This will give you valuable insight regarding the type of tick and what diseases you and your family could have possibly been exposed to.
What Diseases Can Ticks Carry?
Ticks can carry a wide range of diseases, largely depending on the variety of ticks and the region you’re in. However, not every tick carries a disease, and the likelihood of infection goes up significantly as more time passes, making it incredibly important to do frequent tick checks.
Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis are some of the most common illnesses ticks have been known to carry.
Can Tick Bites Cause Allergies?
While not quite a disease, there is a phenomenon that is becoming more and more common among those who have been bitten by ticks. If you or your child are bitten by a certain kind of tick, it can cause the onset of an allergy to red meat. This is called alpha-gal syndrome.
The good news is that it is still uncommon, but its prevalence is spreading. The primary carriers are called the lone star tick. Appropriately, lone star ticks are most common in the Southern and Southeastern portions of the United States.
When To See a Doctor
After removing the tick from the site of the bite, you should keep an eye on it for about 30 days. This will give you enough time to see if a rash develops around the bite, such as the ring characteristic of Lyme disease. At the same time, you should also be aware of other symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headaches, and more.
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should get them to see a doctor as soon as possible.
All-Natural Solutions for Itchy Bug Bites
After the tick is removed and the area has been disinfected and dried, there might still be some lingering itchiness to deal with. At this point, it’s crucial that your child abstains from scratching the bite since this can lead to infection and other complications.
Instead of turning to harsh chemicals, you can instead use MagicPatch Itch-Relief Patches. These all-natural patches work wonders to ease itchiness and promote comfort, making them a perfect choice to help both kids and adults alike. While originally intended for mosquitoes, these patches can soothe a range of bug bite distress.