The Indiana State Department of Health released a statement urging Hoosiers to protect themselves against ticks.
While families are packing picnic baskets, dipping their toes in the lake and spending more time outdoors, ticks are also having their moment. A recent field sample by the Indiana State Department of Health found adult and immature ticks carrying the bacterium that cause Lyme disease in a number of counties, particularly in the northern, west central, and south central parts of the state. To see a map showing where tick infection is located, click here.
Time outdoors is great for the health of your little one. But it’s also important to be mindful of ticks and how to protect children against them. Ticks can transmit several diseases in addition to Lyme disease!
If you are playing in a grassy or wooded area, do the following to protect your child:
- Have them wear a long-sleeved shirt and light colored pants, with the shirt tucked in at the waist and the pants tucked into the socks
- For children over the age of two, use an EPA-registered insect repellent with active ingredients. Click here for a complete list.
- Check them for ticks frequently while outdoors
The time between a tick bite and when you find it is important: quickly finding and removing a tick can prevent your little one from getting sick. Once indoors:
- Do another tick check
- Throw their clothes into the dryer for 30 minutes — the heat will kill ticks
- Have your little one take a shower to remove any unattached ticks
How to remove an attached tick:
Remove the attached tick as soon as you notice it. Grasp the tick with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pull it straight out. For more information about removing ticks, see the CDC’s tick removal page.
Avoid remedies such as painting the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly. Do not use heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible.
To reduce ticks in your yard:
- Mow the lawn frequently
- Keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from yard edges and trees
- Remove old furniture, mattresses or trash from the yard — any place ticks may use for hiding
Prevent ticks on your house furry friends:
- Check your pet for ticks after they spend time outdoors
- If you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away
- Discuss tick prevention products with your veterinarian
What to do if your child feels sick:
Watch for signs of sickness such as rash or fever in the days and weeks following the bite. Your risk of getting a disease because of ticks depends on several factors, like where you live, the type of tick that bit you and how long the tick was attached. If your child develops a rash or fever within several weeks of outdoor activity, see your health care provider. Be sure to tell them about your child’s outdoor exposures — at home and during travel.
For more information about ticks and how to prevent the diseases they carry, see the Indiana State Department of Health website: http://www.in.gov/isdh/20491.htm.
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