It started out like any Tuesday morning, with snuggles from my still half-asleep 3-year-old daughter, some nagging a bit later to finish breakfast, and negotiations on the outfit of the day before we had to leave for school and work. When it comes to my daughter’s hair, I don’t typically do much beyond a quick swipe of the brush and maybe a clip — we’re lucky if we all brush our teeth before leaving the house in the morning.
As I pulled some hair back for an easy ponytail, my fingers brushed over a small bump. I parted her hair to find a very large, very engorged tick embedded in my daughter’s scalp.
At my scream, my daughter turned to question me with big, blue saucer eyes, and all I could see was the tick’s body wriggling to get deeper and deeper into my daughter’s scalp. (Slight exaggeration on that wriggling part, but if you’ve ever pulled a tick off your kid, you get me.)
I knew I had to get the tick out, and I recalled reading something about the proper way to do it, so I placed a call to our pediatrician. The nurse instructed me to grab the tick as close to my daughter’s scalp as possible to remove it and to avoid squeezing the body of the tick as best I could. Squeezing the body causes the tick to regurgitate the contents of its stomach (OMG, gross) back into the bite, which is how the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is passed from the tick to the host. The host being my 3-year-old, in this case. So I did the best I could with my tweezers and scooped up my daughter – and my 8-month-old son – to get the bite checked out.
The pediatrician was not convinced I had removed the head completely with the tweezers, so my daughter was prescribed a two-week round of prophylactic antibiotics to prevent Lyme. (More on how to remove a tick, and prevent Lyme disease, here.)
We all know a good pair of eyebrow tweezers is hard to find, so if you don’t want to use your favorite pair to remove an engorged tick, good news! PhysicianOne Urgent Care is giving out FREE (yes, free!) Original Tick Key® tick removers from May 10–13, while supplies last, at all of their Massachusetts locations in Chestnut Hill, Medford, Waltham, and Westwood. Hopefully you don’t ever experience an embedded tick on your child, but if you do you’ll have a Tick Key® that is effective in removing the tick correctly. Already have a tick remover at home? Go grab another one (it’s FREE, after all) for the car, your purse, the soccer bag — those nasty creatures are literally everywhere. You do not need to be treated or seen as a patient to pick up a Tick Key® in between lacrosse games, recital rehearsal, or grocery shopping this weekend.
In other great news, if your pediatrician is not available or you can’t be seen right away for a tick bite or rash assessment, PhysicianOne Urgent Care will do that too. Open seven days a week with extended hours and online check-in to avoid sitting in the waiting room, they’ve got you covered for spring and summer illnesses and injuries. Learn more about the services PhysicianOne Urgent Care offers at www.p1uc.com.