Thursday, 21 May 2015

Tick Removal was Not Supposed to be on My Service Menu

As part of my goal of helping to educate people about skin care, I want to share a personal story to help raise awareness about ticks, their bites, and the diseases they carry.  I feel it is important to share this now, as we approach the summer season.

Growing up in Alberta, I heard about ticks and how you should wear a hat when walking in the woods so if they dropped out of tree, they would bounce right off and not attach to your skin.  OK, well sometimes I wore a hat and sometimes I didn't but I never had a tick bite and neither did anyone else I knew.

Fast forward to parenthood and I now see stories warning about ticks almost every year, complete with pictures of these crawly creatures (creepy, ugly, and scary looking, especially when magnified...but that's just the opinion of a self-proclaimed bug and arachnid hater).  I still had not heard of anyone I know actually getting a tick bite.

So imagine my surprise (shock, disgust, horror, ugh) when my daughter asked me what was on the back of her neck.  She lifted her long gorgeous hair to reveal a tick, with it's jaws clamped onto her baby soft skin.  Try to remain calm, I told myself while inside I was screaming nooooooooo!  I knew it was a tick, I had seen pictures recently and we had just returned from a trip to BC where we were outside a lot.  Don't panic....I know there is a special way to remove them, we can do this.

Thanks to a quick-thinking music teacher and a smart phone, we found the instructions for tick removal.  We were so fortunate that same lovely teacher also had tweezers handy! This is a job for a steady hand and let me tell you, it would help if your "patient" is also calm and remaining still!  So, with much convincing, I finally had our "patient" as still as possible and removed the offending creature with more force than I had hoped (and much screaming - think broken leg kind of screaming). Dropping it onto a tissue, we then quickly flushed away the ugly beast with a piece of my darling's tender skin still in it's grasp!

After that episode, what does any parent do?  Well, go home and google everything possible about tick bites of course.  Yes, I spent hours learning about what I did right (removing it a soon as possible) and wrong (not saving for testing).  I learned about the diseases carried by ticks (Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, etc.) and the symptoms to watch for (infection, fever, rash, flu-like symptoms, etc.).  I learned that they don't necessarily fall from trees, they often cling to grass, just waiting to hitch a ride when you pass by.  I learned how to prevent a tick bite in the first place (hint: stop thinking it won't happen to you).  And I made a doctor's appointment, just to be sure (the result - so far, so good)!

I am proud of how brave my daughter was through this struggle with a bad bug!  She has even turned it into a mini research project so she can teach her grade 2 class all about ticks and tick removal!

With this trauma over for now, I wanted to pass along my story in the hopes that you and your family stay safe from ticks.  Check out this link for more information on ticks:

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