5 Simple Ways to Prevent and Treat Tick Bites

5 Simple Ways to Prevent and Treat Tick Bites

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Disclosure: Floating Hospital for Children is a client of Influence Central.

My family loves the outdoors. The fresh air invigorates us, the exercise we partake in courses endorphins through our systems, and the sunshine provides us with much-needed vitamin D! We feel at our happiest outside, and seem to even get along better when engaging in healthy, outdoor activity.

When my daughters were younger, we would take “adventure hikes” looking for animals, cool leaves and rocks, and other things of interest we could spot, collect, or take photos of in wooded parks, lakeside, or in fields. My younger daughter still talks about the day she found a real bird’s nest that had fallen from a tree, no longer used. She brought it to school for show-and-tell that week.

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As the girls got older, we started geo-caching. Awesome fun for school-aged children, geo-caching is a real-life treasure hunt that uses a smartphone app as a map to find hidden treasure! Our family found it an excellent introduction to the basics of orientation and navigation and we still participate when we’ve got a group of us outside.

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Each summer, our family also rents a cottage, where we hike, fish, picnic, and play. The girls attend several weeks of overnight camp for deep-woods, unplugged, no-parents-involved fun that keeps them moving, learning, and growing their independence.

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We welcome the change of season and environment with fervor, after 10 long months of school, weekday routine, and everyday life in the suburbs. The whole family thrives as we relax, recharge, and reacquaint ourselves with nature.

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My husband and I also enjoy individual pursuits – I jog, and walk my three dogs along wooded trails close to our home, and my husband brings his metal detector out into fields and wooded areas to discover old coins, musket balls, and other relics lost by generations gone by. A total history buff, my hubby will spend hours upon hours out there, digging and shuffling through the brush.

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Since we spend more time out-of-doors than in over the summer months, our family is no stranger to ticks.

One day, as I was preparing supper, my husband walked into the kitchen after metal-detecting to ask me to check his back for ticks, as he had brushed a few off his jeans. When he turned around, he had at least a DOZEN brown ticks crawling over the back of his shirt. I immediately kicked him out of the house to the garage to disrobe! I get itchy just recalling that memory!

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Thanks to weather conditions this year, ticks are indeed abundant this spring & predicted for summer. Experts encourage people to take tick precautions when spending time outdoors, especially in wooded areas, or fields.

Lynne Karlson, MD, Chief of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center offers these helpful tips for preventing tick bites and what to do if you find a tick on your child:

13690905_10154270222230775_454114568328673722_o1.  Use insect repellent containing DEET.

2.  Wear long pants, tucked into socks, and no sandals in the woods.

3.  Check your child every evening for ticks. In order to transmit Lyme disease, the tick must be on for greater than 24 hours.

4.  If a tick is found, use a gloved hand to pull it straight out. Then wash the bite with soap and water.

5.  Remove clothing in the laundry room or garage, and wash and dry at high temperatures, to make sure any stowaways are killed.

Floating Hospital for Children is the full-service children’s hospital of Tufts Medical Center in Boston. It provides pediatric inpatient and outpatient services in every medical and surgical specialty—from general pediatric services to the care of the most complex cancers, heart diseases, and traumas.

Our fear of ticks and any disease they may be carrying won’t keep my family from enjoying time outside – we love nature, the fresh air and sunshine too much to give them up. But we do want to stay happy, healthy, and safe, which is why I feel thankful to have incredible resources like the Floating Hospital for Children available to me, my friends, and my family.

For more information on keeping your kids healthy and strong, visit floatinghospital.org.

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Natalie Rea
Natalie Rea
Mom to two amazing daughters - a feisty teen in middle school, and an ambitious young adult in university. Originally from Montréal's West Island, I now explore the beautiful trails of Hamilton, Ontario. Proud Canadian, vegetarian, dog-adopter, & bleeding-heart liberal. I smile a lot because I have Resting Bitch Face.
Author: Natalie Rea

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