Minnesota has been named among the top ten “Best Places to Live” in survey after survey for many reasons—the food, the lakes, and the cultural attractions, to name just a few. We just recently made another top-ten list, but it’s one we’d rather avoid. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranked Minnesota seventh in the nation for the highest number of tick-borne diseases between 2004 and 2016.
In fact, the Star Tribune reported, “Insect-borne diseases have tripled in the United States since 2004, and Minnesota has emerged as an epicenter of tick-related illnesses. With 26,886 confirmed cases of tick-borne infections between 2004 and 2016, Minnesota had the seventh-highest tally in the U.S.”
It almost makes you want to keep the kids inside for the summer, doesn’t it? But have no fear of sending your children out to the backyard or on camping trips. A few simple health hacks can help reduce the chance your kids will contract a tick-borne illness.
Name That Insect
The first thing you can do to help prevent bites is teach your kids what ticks look like. Show them photos of both wood ticks and deer ticks. Point out how small the deer ticks are—that they almost look like little baby freckles.
Consider Prevention Methods
Using insect repellents can keep ticks off your children, so it’s a good idea to use one if you know they’ll be playing outside.
Take a Shower
If your children have been outside playing near grassy or wooded areas, it’s a good idea to have them shower after they come inside. The water can help wash ticks away before they attach.
Create Nightly Rituals
Once your children know what ticks look like, create a ritual every evening to scan your children for ticks. Depending on their age, you can help them check or teach them how to look for ticks and where they might be hiding. The CDC recommends checking your clothes and your entire body. Then thoroughly check in seven spots ticks love:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside the belly button
- At the back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
If you find a tick on your child, don’t panic. It takes 24 hours after a tick has attached to transfer Lyme disease, so as long as the tick comes off within that window, your child should be just fine. To pull it off, use a tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. Don’t twist, just pull the tick straight out.
If your child develops a rash where the tick was or a fever, then it’s time to come to The Urgency Room for treatment.
Now that you’re prepared, get out there and enjoy our beautiful Minnesota summer!
Do other health trends have you worried about your kids? Let us know!
The Urgency Room (UR) is a state-of-the-art medical facility specializing in the treatment of acute injuries and illnesses in adults, children, and infants. Staffed with board-certified emergency physicians, the UR is prepared to handle it all. If you need immediate medical attention and don’t need an ambulance come to The Urgency Room.