Ticks are small spider-shaped creatures that feed on the blood of mammals including humans. Unfortunately they can carry Lyme disease when they are infected.
Lyme disease is not a very common infection . The estimation is that there are between 50 and 100 cases in Ireland every year. It is a bacterial infection that generally carries a red skin rash. If left untreated symptoms can worsen to include a very high temperature, muscle and joint pain/swelling and paralysis to facial muscles. The outcome of Lyme disease is not fatal. If diagnosed at an early stage it can be treated with antibiotics.
The disease is caused by a tick that is most commonly found in woodland areas. Animals such as deer and mice are said to carry ticks and they are more commonly found in these areas. The population of these ticks tends to be higher in late Spring and Early Summer.
You may have never come across a situation where a child you know has a tick but it is better to be prepared in case this happens to someone around you.
The best course of action is actually prevention believe it or not. When in woodlands it is best to ensure that arms and legs are covered. If your child has been bitten by a tick it is likely to look like a dark coloured stone fixed to your child’s skin. It is often on the back of your child’s head. The first thing is to ensure that you do not panic. Most tick bites are harmless and do not require medical treatment.
Remember that while the tick looks fixed to your child’s head it is actually alive and is feeding off the blood. You can use a tweezers to grasp the tick firmly and pull until the tick breaks away from the skin. You should then wash your hands and the site of the bite.
If you are worried that your child is presenting symptoms such as fever, headache or a rash then it is recommended to seek medical attention. If the tick was on the skin for more than twenty four hours or you were unable to remove the full tick it is also recommend to seek medical help.