We went walking by the river today around noon and when I undressed DD for her bath around 6:30 I saw a large tick in her armpit. I pulled it out, I got the whole thing and it wasn't engorged. It's not the first time this happens since we like walking in nature. But the other times there wasn't a hole this big and no red ring around the bite. This one looks quite dark in the center and red all around with a darker ring of red around the bite site. Could the tick have been in there long enough to transmit anything? I'm so worried.
I've always heard that it's very unlikely to transmit anything if they aren't attached long enough to get engorged. However, if you are worried it might be worth showing it to a doc.
Last spring, my daughter had one under her braid that I didn't find until that night, from much earlier in the day. it was slightly engorged when I removed it. Her lymph node right under where it was attached swelled to about the size of a large pea, and stayed enlarged most of the summer. I did take her to the doc, and the advice was :as long as her only sypmptom is lymph node swelling, you don't need to worry. Fever, chills, other issues, and that's worth coming back.
Thank you so much for answering. I've done a lot of research and it looks like you are right. It has now been a couple days and there is no more redness so I guess we'll just have to wait until the hole scabs over. I'd never seen a tick that big before. Bleh.
Ticks are associated with Lyme disease, so I strongly advise you to see a pediatrician without delay and have them test your little one. This may involve a blood test, but you must follow your ped's advice on this.
I know what the official position is on disease transmittal, but current research by Lyme-literate physicians suggests that ticks which have been attached for less than a day, and sometimes as little as six hours, can still transmit bacteria and disease. Blood tests for Lyme are accurate roughly 50% of the time, so diagnosis is difficult, and the disease doesn't always manifest in a rash, or even a fever, so the best we can do is take prophylactic measures against getting bitten. In my state, a doctor will often prescribe a five day course of antibiotics when someone has a clearcut tick bite, just as a precaution, because the sooner an illness is caught the easier it is to treat and because many cases are asymptomatic at first. I'm not a big fan of unnecessary antibiotics so I prefer preventive measures, but I've had a bad case of Lyme myself, and lost a dog to Ehrlichiosis, so it's a question of the lesser evil. My doctor has said that there are tick-borne bacteria and parasites which have not been categorized or even identified yet, but they are making people and animals sick.
When you remove a tick the best course of action is to take the tick off and have it tested for disease. Remove the insect and put it in a medicine bottle or plastic baggie. In my state the testing is provided free of charge. All you have to do is call the local health department and they will tell you where to drop the tick off. If we're walking in nature there are several precautions we can take to protect ourselves against being bitten by ticks.
I'm not a doctor, and offer this information in the spirit of sharing experience.
Unfortunately there is a newly identified, very serious disease associated with tick bites. (This confirms my doctor's belief that there were other diseases being transmitted that haven't been identified yet.) Transmission of the POWASSAN virus can take place in as little as fifteen minutes. SInce it's a virus there is no treatment. Lyme disease is found in 50% of ticks. Currently the POWASSAN disease is only in about 6% of the tick population. This still gives you an approximately one in twenty chance of contracting it if you are bitten, compared to the fifty/fifty chance of contracting Lyme disease.
The new tick disease, unfortunately, carries with it the danger of encephalitis. It's shown itself to be deadly about 10% of the time.
I don't mean to be alarmist about tick-borne illness but it is a serious threat. When I contracted Lyme disease the tick was in my hair. In December. If you find a tick on your body chances are there's one hidden in your body hair as well. You have to ask yourself if it's really worth the risk to walk unprotected in areas where you know there are ticks.
He prescribed a cream that we had to apply twice a day. It took about 4 months for the hair to start to re- grow.
The way it was described to me, the immune system (white cells) freaked out over the tick bite, the intruder. The army of white blood cells couldn't find the intruder and over reacted in their search and was clearing out the hair in its search. The cream was to tell the white cells to chill out - the intruder is gone- stop over reacting.
I know that description is completely unscientific, but I hope there is something in there to help. It took about 6 months for everything to be completely 'normal' again.
But for me, the answer to whether the risk is worth it is an unqualified YES. If we're hiking or camping, I'll spray the kids down with Deep Woods OFF, but most days, I'm comfortable just checking them over and removing any we find. I grew up in a heavily wooded suburb, and my best childhood memories are of running around in the woods. I certainly would not want my children to miss out on similar experiences. This is an area where I completely believe that we can take sensible precautions and continue to embrace full lives, including time in the outdoors.