Tick s The Season! Checking for Ticks in Preschool

Tick’s the Season: Checking for Ticks in Preschool

Checking for ticks becomes a transitional activity for teachers in preschool programs in Spring and Fall.

Those nasty ticks come around every Spring and can be even worse in the fall.

Here you’ll find ways to prevent your preschoolers from being bitten by these annoying little critters.

The weather has been so beautiful. I love to walk when it is nice out. So does our dog.

As we were walking, he «stopped to smell the roses» and it looked as though there was dirt on his nose.

I bent over to wipe it off and EEK! Three ticks had decided to grab a free ride on Jack’s nose.

Fortunately, they were still just looking for a seat and were not attached.

I went home and immediately began checking for ticks on myself as well as my dog and . yup. there was one crawling on my neck (but no more on JackJack!)

Okay, who else is now itchy just from reading this? You’re welcome!

My first thought is I need to invest in some heavy-duty outerwear before my next walk.

But instead, I decided to do some research and make a few calls. So before you go out and purchase similar gear, let’s learn more about ticks!

What is a tick?

Did you know that ticks are in the aracnid family? Me either! They are relatives to all kinds of creepy crawlies that I equally dislike including spiders, mites and scorpions!

There are literally hundreds of different kinds of ticks around the globe. There are two kinds in particular that we talk most about: The dog tick and the deer tick.

Dog ticks are very common and are larger than the deer tick. They can be anywhere up to ВЅ inch long.

If you have ever had a dog, you have most likely seen a dog tick either walking on it’s coat/fur (as I saw with Jack) or actually embedded in your dog’s skin (as I have also seen with Jack).

These are the less concerning of ticks, though they can carry a disease called Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

A deer tick is much smaller than a dog tick. It is about the same size as the head of a pin! That is tiny! These ticks are found in many areas of the United States

This is the more concernable of ticks as this type can carry Lyme disease, especially in New England and some parts of the Midwest United States.

What makes a tick. well, tick?

A tick attaches itself to the skin of its host (an animal or a person) and sucks blood. That’s their goal. That’s their agenda in life. Gross, right?

Ticks do NOT jump. They do NOT fly. They do NOT fall off of trees and bushes.

It is thought that ticks typically attach to the lower legs of people (or in my Jack’s case, anywhere on his body, being a «lowrider» short corgi dog) and then crawl their way up their hosts body looking for a nice, warm, untreated place to feast.

Why so many ticks some years?

Research shows that their is a higher number of ticks during heavy wet seasons and high rainfall seasons.

This means in Spring, when all the snow melts and the spring rains come, ticks are pretty much everywhere. It’s especially high in Spring when the preceding Winter resulted in record snow fall.

The melting snow just adds to the water accumulation. Put water and warm weather together, and you’ve got Spring Break for Ticks!

I spoke with a representative of Bayer Healthcare LLC.

Their Animal Health Division manufactures K9 Advantix II , the tick, flea and mosquito treatment we use on our dog.

Lyme disease gets its name from the place where it was first discovered —
Lyme, Connecticut (in New England)?

She confirmed that awhen spring comes after a snowy winter, the number of ticks is higher.

I was told by Jack’s veterinarian’s office that the Fall/Autumn season has an even higher concentration of ticks!

Why? Ticks don’t like the hot (summer) weather so they are less active then and doing their thing. laying larvae. and when the weather is warm again (as fall approaches) and the fall rains come, ticks return in droves!

How to prevent them

Well, we can’t prevent ticks from exisiting, though that would be a wonderful and noble goal! What we can do is take steps to lesson our exposure to them.

Avoiding Ticks In Your Outdoor Areas

Here are some suggestions that I found in my research:

  • Keep grass mowed/cut.
  • Clean up grass and leaf piles, including around your woodpiles, fences and gardens. Not only to ticks live there, but these areas provide a place for rodents (mice, chipmunks, etc) to live—and ticks have access to these lower to the ground hosts!
  • Remove any plants or items that attract deer.
  • When going on walks, avoid areas with tall grass and bushy areas.
  • If on a nature trail, walk in the center of the path, not the edges where the tall grass/brush is.
  • If you have deer in your area, consider some type of deer fencing or other barrier to keep them out of your outdoor, common use area.
  • Consider treating your area for ticks. I am told there are non-chemical and envirnomentally safe treatments. Your areas cooperative extensions or local nurseries may be able to guide you in this area.

The CDC has many ideas. In addition, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has developed a comprehensive Tick Management Handbook also have suggestions for preventing tick bites as well as suggestions to reduce tick population in your common areas such as:

  • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently.
  • Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
  • Discourage unwelcome animals (such as deer, raccoons, and stray dogs) from entering your yard by constructing fences.
  • Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.
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Avoiding Ticks on Pets

Dogs (and cats) seem to be natural hosts for ticks due to their low proximity to where ticks live..

Be sure to bathe your dog with tick shampoo or consider a tick collar or topical treatment.

Check with your veterinarian for guidance.

Avoiding Ticks on People

When playing outside in grassy and especially in wooded areas, WebMD http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/how-to-remove-a-tick-overview recommends the following:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts
  • Wear long pants (preferably tuck pants into socks so as not to leave skin exposed).
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear light colored clothes (ticks are easier to find on light clothing rather than dark clothing)
  • Use insect repllents, such as products with DEET.

A Note About DEET

According to the information from the State of Connecticut DEET has been used by many millions of Americans for 40 years and the incidence of adverse reactions is low.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) review of DEET showed that normal use of DEET does not present a health concern to the general population when used according to label directions

Some allergic, toxic, and neurological reactions to DEET have been reported in medical literature, but toxic encephalopathic reactions are rare.

Reported adverse reactions appear to have involved high concentrations of DEET, over application of product contrary to label directions, or ingestion of product. Repeated applications have occasionally produced tingling, mild irritation or contact dermatitis.

They further state that the important points in the safe use of DEET include:

  • Follow the directions and precautions given on the repellent label.
  • pply DEET sparingly to exposed skin, and spray on clothing when possible.
  • Do not use DEET under clothing or over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
  • Use the lowest concentration necessary for protection and estimated time of needed protection.
  • Minimize the use of higher concentrations on the skin. Lower concentrations, such as 10% DEET, will provide approximately 2 hours of protection against mosquitoes (but may be less effective against ticks), while a concentration of 24% will provide about 5 hours of protection against mosquitoes.
  • A concentration of DEET up to 30% for adults and children over 2 years of age is the maximum concentration currently recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  • The AAP does not recommend the use of DEET on children under 2 months of age.
  • Apply sparingly to small children.


That’s a lot of DEET information. What I was surprised to read was the it should not be applied under clothing.

My thoughts and suggestions for you regarding products with DEET:

You should ALWAYS check with your doctor or child’s pediatrician before using anything with DEET in it.

You should NEVER apply products with DEET in it without express, written permission by parents.

How to perform tick checks.

Checking for ticks must become a routine, just part of what you do after playing outside, each and every time during tick season.

Plan for it. Treat it as any other expected transition in the classroom.

  1. Start at the head, checking the scalp and back of the neck.
  2. Move your way down from there checking:
  3. Behind and in the ears
  4. Back and front of neck
  5. Armpits
  6. Backs, Bellys and Belly-Buttons
  7. Back of Knees, ankles, feet.

Teach children what ticks look like and how to check their own bodies as well.

Send home a letter to parents about checking for ticks at bath time as well.

Checking for Ticks. and then you FIND ONE!

You hope this won’t happen, but in reality, it most likely will. You’ll find one and need to remove it.

First, let’s talk about what NOT to do:

  • Do NOT cover the tick with petroleum jelly (vaseline).
  • Do NOT cover the tick with fingernail polish.
  • Do NOT cover the tick with gasoline or rubbing alchol.
  • Do NOT try to smother or burn a tick.

Any of these things could, and most likely will, cause the tick to release fluid from their bodies (which may be infected) into the person’s body and therefore increase the risk of infection.

1. Use tweezers, gloves or a tick-removal device.

If you don’t have tweezers, you can put on gloves or otherwise cover your hands and use your fingers. It is not recommended to use bare hands.

There are also «thing-ys» for lack of a better word. I guess «device» is better! I got one years ago from my vet’s office and it works perfectly..on pets AND people!!

It is like a 1/8 teaspoon size and has a small wedge in it.

You place the wedge part against the skin and lift.

The tick comes out and falls into the spoon part.

I know that sounded like an ad, but they aren’t kidding that it is the «world’s easiest tick remover»! I like this soooo much better than tweezers!

Grab the tick as close to it’s mouth as possible. that is. as closely as possible to the person’s skin.

Do NOT grab it from its belly. This could release the infected fluid we talked about into the person’s body.

3. Gently pull straight out.

Gently pull the tick straight out, in one motion. Do not twist while pulling (this could leave the tick’s head in the person’s skin). Just one, straight pull.

If part of the tick remains below the skin, don’t panic. Leave it alone (do not dig for it) but notify the child’s parent/doctor.

If you can not remove the tick, call a doctor.

Place the tick in a plastic, ziplock type baggie and print the child’s name on the baggie to show to the parent.

Wash the area with warm, soapy water (use a mild soap). Wash your own hands as well.


Tick Bites and Disease

What are ticks?

Ticks are tiny bugs, about the size of a sesame seed, which feed on blood. Different ticks prefer feeding from different types of animals. Sometimes, a tick will bite a person instead of biting an animal. While most tick bites do not result in disease, some do.

Ticks live in tall grass and wooded areas. They are easiest to spot on a person when they are actually sucking blood. Ticks burrow part way into the skin, bite, draw blood, and then drop off. The feeding tick’s mouth will be under the skin, but the back parts will be sticking out. When they are full of blood they are usually blue-grey in colour. This is called an engorged tick.

What should I do if I find a tick on my skin?

If you find a tick on your skin, you need to remove it as soon as possible. Check your entire body and clothing. Do not stop when you find one tick. There may be more. Make sure the lighting is good, so you do not miss seeing the tick(s). If you cannot reach the tick or see it clearly, get someone else to remove the tick for you or see a health care provider to remove it. Be sure to check for ticks on your children and pets if they have been out in an area where ticks can live.

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When to see a health care provider to remove the tick

See your health care provider to remove the tick if it has buried itself deep into your skin. This happens if the tick has been on you for several hours or even a day or two. When a tick has burrowed deep into your skin, it is very hard to remove the tick without leaving some mouth parts behind, which can cause an infection.

How to remove a tick yourself

If you can remove the tick yourself, follow these instructions.

  1. Use tweezers to gently get a hold of the tick as close to its mouth as possible. The body of the tick will be above your skin. Do not touch the tick with your bare hands. Wear gloves if possible.
  2. Steadily lift the tick straight off the skin. Do not squeeze the tick because this can force its stomach contents into the wound and increase the chance of an infection. Do not jerk, unscrew or twist the tick because this may separate the head from the body. It is very important to make sure that all of the tick, including the mouth parts buried in your skin, is removed.
  3. Once the tick has been removed, clean the area with soap and water. You may also put a small amount of antibiotic ointment on the area. Wash your hands with soap and water.

You cannot remove a tick by covering it with grease or gasoline, or by holding a match or cigarette against the tick. This does not work and may increase the chance of getting an infection.

What to do with the tick once it is removed

If the tick is alive, put it in a small container (e.g., a pill bottle) with a tight fitting lid along with a cotton ball dampened with water to keep it alive. Do not use rubbing alcohol or any other liquid. The container with the tick can be stored briefly in a refrigerator. Speak with your health care provider as soon as possible to see if they want to submit the tick to the BC Centre for Disease Control for testing.

How do I avoid getting bitten by a tick?

You can help protect yourself and your family against tick and insect bites by following these tips when you spend time in an area where ticks may live:

  • Walk on cleared trails wherever possible when walking in tall grass or woods.
  • Wear light coloured clothing, tuck your top into your pants, and tuck your pants into your boots or socks.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and on all uncovered skin. Reapply it as directed on the container. For more information about insect repellents and DEET, see HealthLinkBC File #96 Insect Repellent and DEET.
  • Check clothing and scalp when leaving an area where ticks may live. Check in folds of skin. Have someone help you check young children.
  • Regularly check household pets which go into tall grass and wooded areas.

Which diseases can be spread by ticks?

Several diseases can be passed to humans from tick bites. The most well-known is Lyme disease.

Borrelia burgdorferi, the organism that causes Lyme disease, has been found in ticks collected from many areas of British Columbia, and dozens of Lyme disease cases have been identified in the past 15 years. Many people with Lyme disease have not travelled outside of the province, and it is likely they contracted the disease in B.C.

Not all ticks carry the bacteria for Lyme Disease, and there is only a very small chance of ticks giving it to you. However, since Lyme disease is such a serious disease, it is worth taking steps to avoid being bitten.

Other diseases passed on by ticks include relapsing fever, tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), Q fever, and anaplasmosis. All of these diseases are rare in British Columbia. Certain ticks may release a toxin that can cause temporary paralysis. For this reason it is important to remove the whole tick as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of tick-related diseases?

If you have the following symptoms within days or weeks after being bitten by a tick, report them to your health care provider right away. Tell your health care provider when and where a tick bit you.

  • General symptoms of fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, fatigue, or weakness of the muscles of the face.
  • Skin rash, especially one that looks like a bull’s eye, which may or may not be in the area of the bite.
  • In very rare cases, paralysis may occur. The paralysis usually starts in the feet and legs and works its way up to the upper body, arms and head. The paralysis usually starts within a few hours to a day or two days after the bite.

What is the treatment?

There are currently no vaccines licensed in Canada for any diseases passed on by ticks.

Lyme disease and other tick-related diseases can be treated with antibiotics. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications.

Want More Information?

HealthLink BC, your provincial health line, is as close as your phone or the web any time of the day or night, every day of the year.

Call 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C., or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1 or for Video Relay Service, call 604-215-5101.

You can speak with a health service navigator, who can also connect you with a:

  • registered nurse any time, every day of the year
  • registered dietitian from 9am to 5pm PT, Monday to Friday
  • qualified exercise professional from 9am to 5pm PT, Monday to Friday
  • pharmacist from 5pm to 9am PT, every day of the year

Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.

8-1-1 in 130 Languages

When you dial 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for the deaf and hard of hearing), you can request health information services in languages other than English.

Translation services are available in over 130 languages.

After dialing 8-1-1, you will be connected with an English speaking health service navigator. To get service in another language, simply state the language you are looking for (example say “Punjabi”), and an interpreter will join the call.


Tick bites: how to safely remove a tick and why it’s important

A tick is a small, blood-sucking mite that can spread Lyme disease. We explain how to remove it safely.

Concerned you might have a tick bite? If you think think you’ve been bitten by a tick, it’s important to safely remove it as soon as possible. While a tick on the body doesn’t usually cause any discomfort, the longer it remains attached to you, the greater the risk of it passing on Lyme disease and other infections. Here is everything you need to know about ticks including safe removal tips:

See also:  How to Remove a Tick: The Safe Method and Natural Repellents

What is a tick?

A tick is a small, blood-sucking mite (not to be confused with tics, which are rapid, repetitive involuntary contractions of a group of muscles, causing bodily movements, or vocal sounds).

Normally ticks live on blood from larger animals, like deer or small mammals, but they may also attach themselves to humans. The tick sits on tall grass and trees, waiting for a possible ‘host’ (such as a human) to walk by. If a tick attaches itself to someone, it will typically find its way to a warm, moist and dark place on the body (like the crotch or the armpit). Often the person carrying the tick is completely unaware it is attached to them.

The tick will then insert a probe into the skin and begin sucking blood. In most cases the tick will leave after a while (simply by disconnecting and falling off the skin), or the host will get rid of it without any harm having been done.

What is a tick bite infection?

Occasionally, the tick carries micro-organisms, including bacteria, viruses and protozoa which can lead to an infection. For example, in the UK ticks may carry a small bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi in their stomach, which is passed into a human during the blood-sucking process. This can cause an infection known as Lyme disease.

The longer the tick remains attached to the person’s skin, the greater the risk of catching a tick-borne disease, especially if it is there for more than 36 hours.

The longer the tick remains attached to the person’s skin, the greater the risk of catching a tick-borne disease.

There are many other tick-borne diseases around the world, for example Rocky Mountain Fever (caused by an infection with an organism called Rickettsia rickettsia) in East and South West USA, and Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (caused by a virus) in Southern Asia, Northern Africa and Southern Europe.

If you think you might have an infection, make an emergency appointment with your GP to get it checked out.

Why is it important to remove a tick?

A tick on the body doesn’t usually cause any pain, but it is still important to get rid of it because of the risk of Lyme disease or other infections.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in Europe and North America. Around 1,000 cases are estimated to occur every year in England and Wales, according to Public Health England.

Up to 15 per cent of these occur in people travelling abroad. But the rest typically occur when people visit countryside areas – such as Exmoor, the New Forest, the Yorkshire Moors or the Highlands of Scotland where tick-carrying animals such as deer are found.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a condition caused by infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which may be carried by hard-bodied ticks (Ixodes ricinus) commonly known as deer or sheep ticks.

The disease is typically picked up in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, usually in forested woodland or heathland areas, where small mammals and birds form the reservoir for the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.

Lyme disease symptoms

The first sign of Lyme disease is usually a red circular rash expanding around the area of the bite, which may develop as long as 3 or 4 weeks later, long after the tick may have fallen off or been forgotten about.

Other Lyme disease symptoms may include:

If Lyme disease is not spotted and treated with antibiotics, it may cause long term chronic problems including arthritis, muscle pain and nerve damage.

Lyme disease complications

In the UK, nervous system disease (neuroborreliosis) is the most common complication, with symptoms such as paralysis of the facial nerve (affecting muscles of the face) , meningitis and inflammation of the nerves coming out of the spine (radiculopathy) within weeks or months of the initial infection. Arthritis is less common in the UK but more often seen when the infection is picked up in the USA or Central Europe.

These late symptoms may be very generalised, and a diagnosis of Lyme disease may not be the first thing that comes to mind especially as the walk in the countryside where it all began may have been months or even year before.

How to safely remove a tick

The tick presses its head into the skin, so it’s important to try and remove all of it, as remnants in the skin could cause infection.

Follow these tips to safely remove the tick:

✔️ Seize the tick with a pair of tweezers or a tick removal tool, as close to the head as possible. Take care not to pull it apart. Pull slowly and consistently until it lets go. Don’t pull too hard.

✔️ If the above method fails, tie a cotton thread around the tick as close to the head as possible and pull slowly until it lets go.

✔️ Do not attempt to remove the tick through burning or chemicals – this may cause more harm than good.

What to do if the tick’s head gets stuck

If the tick is accidentally pulled apart and the head stays in the skin, there’s a risk of being infected with other microscopic organisms.

This kind of infection has nothing to do with Lyme disease, but can still be dangerous and unpleasant. See a doctor if part of the tick is left in the skin or if infection occurs.

Do you need antibiotics for a tick bite?

If you have been bitten by a tick and have removed it, the risk of getting Lyme disease is so small that there is no reason to use an antibiotic. It is, however, important to watch out for symptoms that may indicate Lyme disease, especially a red spot close to the tick bite.

The spot gradually gets bigger and, eventually, a pale area will appear in the middle. It isn’t usually itchy, painful or hot. This is often accompanied by headache and fever, which will usually appear between 3 and 30 days after the bite. If this happens, see a doctor immediately.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, most people need a 2 to 4 week course of antibiotics to treat Lyme disease. If the disease is severe or in it’s later stages, intravenous antibiotics may need to be given.

Can you prevent tick bites?

It’s important when out walking in the countryside, especially in wooded or heath areas known to be a risk for Lyme disease, to take precautions to avoid ticks. This might include using insect repellents and covering up the skin with trousers tucked into walking boots or wearing long sleeves.

It’s also important after a walk to check yourself and the rest of the family (including the dog!) for ticks, because people often don’t immediately notice when one has attached itself to their skin.


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