Ticks and Your Child
Blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis),
which can carry Lyme Disease as well as the less common Human
Granulocytotropic Anaplasmosis (HGA) and Babesiosis, are
prevalent in Rhode Island.
Disease carrying ticks have been found in 43 states and
are common in many parts of the Northeast.
Caution is appropriate for anyone spending time in the
are answers to some commonly asked questions about ticks.
What is the likelihood
of my child getting a tick-borne disease at Alton Jones?
It is unlikely that your child will get a tick-borne
disease from attending a program at the URI W. Alton Jones
Campus. We work diligently to minimize risks and provide
maximum protection for each child who attends our programs.
We feel it is important to keep parents informed so
that if a child displays symptoms, a prompt diagnosis can be
made and proper treatment can be given.
What measures are taken
to prevent tick bites? While
the risk of getting a tick-borne illness at W. Alton Jones is
low, we take a proactive approach.
We teach children to be aware of ticks and methods of
tick-bite prevention. We
talk to them about ticks at their first orientation meeting.
We teach them how to check themselves for ticks and
frequently remind them to do so.
We work to keep our trails trimmed back and we make
every effort to avoid high tick areas.
What if a tick bites my
child? In the
event that an embedded tick is found on a child, a trained
staff member will promptly remove the tick.
It is possible for an infected tick to be embedded for
up to 48 hours before transmitting a disease.
Prompt tick removal will reduce the likelihood of
disease transmission. We
call the parents of any child who is bitten by a tick so that
they can help monitor the child for symptoms once they are
What are the symptoms
of tick-borne diseases?
We encourage all parents and children to become
familiar with the symptoms since a tick bite can go
any symptoms occur, contact your doctor and tell them that
your child may have been exposed to ticks.
Many symptoms are flu-like while tick-borne diseases
are most likely to occur outside of the normal flu season.
Disease: Early symptoms generally appear within a week
and include an expanding (often but not always bulls-eye
shaped) skin rash that can be, but is not always, near the
bite site. The
rash occurs in 60% to 80% of all cases, appears 3 days to 1
month after the bite, and confirms a diagnosis of Lyme
watch for chills, fever, headache, stiff neck, fatigue,
swollen lymph nodes, dizziness and aching joints and muscles.
Another possible symptom is swelling and pain in the joints,
especially the knees. These
symptoms may not seem serious enough to warrant initial
Disease is the most common tick-borne disease and is treatable
Granulocytotropic Anaplasmosis (HGA): Symptoms include
fever, headache, malaise, chills, sweating, muscle aches,
nausea and vomiting. Symptoms
may be severe and it is sometimes initially misdiagnosed as
meningitis. This disease is rare but has been increasing in
recent years. It
is treatable with tetracycline derivative drugs (used with
caution since some tetracycline drugs will permanently stain
Symptoms are generally mild or go unnoticed and may require no
treatment but can be severe in rare cases.
Symptoms occur within 1 to 4 weeks and include a
gradual onset of malaise, loss of appetite, and fatigue
followed within a week or so by fever, drenching sweats,
shaking chills, nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle pain,
weakness, and depression.
This disease is extremely rare particularly in
children, however people with impaired immune systems or those
who have had their spleen removed are at risk of severe and
possibly fatal reactions.
What can parents do to
help prevent tick bites? Insect repellents can be sprayed
on clothing or skin to help prevent tick bites.
Be sure that the label says it is affective against
ticks and that it contains 30% or less of the chemical DEET
since that is the maximum concentration currently recommended
for children. Permethrin
is highly effective against ticks but can only be applied to
pre-treated clothing at www.insectshield.com).
Light colored clothing helps in locating ticks. Keeping
ticks off children and removing them before they bite or
transmit a disease are key to prevention.
Assist us in tick bite
prevention by helping your son or daughter thoroughly check
themselves for ticks as soon as they return home. Remove any
embedded ticks with tweezers. Launder dirty clothing promptly
and dry at high temperatures. Know and watch for symptoms of
Please call 401-874-8148 if you have further
questions or if your child contracts a tick-borne disease and
you believe it was from attending a program at Alton Jones (we
try to keep track of cases). We welcome your comments.