With good weather and holidays, outings to the countryside increase. So that that moment of family leisure and fun does not turn into a nightmare, we have to be very careful with some parasites that can make our day bitter. This time, we talk about how to avoid tick bites in children,and it is that it is a very dangerous arachnid that can cause serious health problems.
Zoonoses are those diseases of humans that have their origin or form of transmitter in animals. In children, as well as in adults, ticks can transmit certain diseases that compromise the health and even the vitality of the patient if they are not diagnosed and treated in time.
Ticks are small blood-sucking parasites that attach to the skin and suck blood. They are the arachnid family, which also includes mites, spiders, and scorpions.
As with any disease, there are risk factors that we must consider, such as living or visiting areas with a high population of ticks and being outdoors in hot climates (more frequently in spring and summer).
Each type of tick transmits a different disease, so below I will name the four most common types and detail what dangers it entails for the child's health.
1. The deer tick
It produces a disease called 'lyme' and is produced by the bacterium borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted by this tick, which becomes contaminated after a rodent bite. It is very common in the United States, Europe and Asia.
They are black-legged ticks and the symptoms of the disease are similar to a flu picture: fatigue, joint pain, limb weakness, rash, and a rash in the area of the target-shaped bite. Treatment is with antibiotics, analgesics and antipyretics and, if treated in time, the patient's recovery is complete.
2. The canine tick
It abounds in any area of the world and we frequently find it in pets, in this case canines. It can measure up to 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) and causes a disease called 'Rocky Mountain spotted fever'.
Produced by the bacterium rickettsia ricklttsii, it is a life-threatening disease, if not treated in time. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, rash with blackened skin, and scab at the site of the bite. Treatment is with parenteral antibiotic therapy, antipyretics, and analgesics. And your recovery is complete if it is treated in time.
3. The lone star tick
Produces a disease called ehrlichiosis through the inoculation of the bacteria ehrlichia, which causes a flu-like illness in children with mild fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain , decreased appetite, skin rash, confusion and cough.
Sometimes the symptoms are so mild that the child is not taken to the pediatrician and the disease can get worse. And after the bite, there may be a period of up to 14 days for the appearance of symptoms, so be careful when discovering or removing a tick from your child's body.
Ehrlichiosis can also be transmitted by blood transfusion from the mother to the fetus and by direct contact with the animal's bite, but the tick must remain attached to the child's skin for at least 24 hours to transmit the disease.
It is suggested that parents as soon as they see the tick attached to the skin, remove it with great care so that the head of the tick does not adhere to the skin - this would be very dangerous, so if you do not dare, go running to a center of health - and consult with the pediatrician.
Ticks latch onto the lower legs or feet and then crawl up to where they can burrow into the skin (back of the knees, groin, armpits, ears, behind the neck). Ideally, remove it within 24 hours.
If ehrlichiosis is not treated in time, complications such as kidney, respiratory, and heart failure, seizures, coma, and death can arise. Treatment is also with the use of oral or parenteral antibiotics, according to the severity of the disease, analgesics and antipyretic.
4. The ixodidae tick
It produces a disease called anaplasmosis, transmitted by the anaplasma phagoctoxhilum bacterium that is usually found in contaminated water. Its symptoms are similar to ehrlichiosis and treatment is also with antibiotic therapy.
And to conclude, I will leave you a preventive measures to avoid a tick bite:
- Avoid passing or camping in infested areas with ticks.
- Wear protective clothing: long pants, long-sleeved shirts or blouses, socks and closed shoes.
- Put the ends of the pants inside the socks and the shirt inside the pants. The less exposed skin the better!
- Wear a repellent with permethrin or picaridin (10 to 30% DEET: Off Deep Woods). Permethrin is only used on clothing and DEET on skin and clothing. Do not use on hands and face.
- Keep pets free of ticks.
- Check children frequently if they live with infested pets or in tick areas.
- Walk on clear paths and avoid weeds. Ticks prefer wooded areas.
- Inspect clothes every time they arrive from outside and bags, backpacks, etc.
- They can spin the clothes in the dryer for 1 hour, which will remove them completely.
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