Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tick Talk

Last night I was putting a little bow in Valerie's hair, when I noticed a dark spot on her scalp, that looked kind of rough and shiny and bumpy at the same time. At first I thought it was a scab, because she'd bumped her head on the underside of the table earlier in the day. I looked closer and realized it was a TICK. A huge, horrible, nasty, disgusting, gross, revolting, ugly, TICK. I, um, sort of freaked out and called Terry; Valerie started crying because I was upset, but I calmed down and calmed her down as I checked on the internet for how to remove ticks.

It's not like I've never dealt with ticks before, but there's just something upsetting about seeing a blood-sucking parasite attached your baby's HEAD!!!!!

When Terry got home, he held her still while I applied tweezers and lifted off the offending creature. It took several tries because I didn't want to squeeze it too hard, but hard enough to get good traction. Finally got it out. We threw it in the trash, but then went to fish it out later to preserve for possible testing. When we went to look for it, we found it CRAWLING UP THE WALL. OH MY GOSH IT WAS SO GROSS. This time we flicked it into an empty plastic container, which we duct-taped shut and put in the freezer.

Then I gave Valerie a bath, and washed her hair really really well. With a real, not proverbial, fine-toothed comb. No more ticks were found.

I called the pediatrician this morning and she said that the big ticks are dog ticks and don't carry Lyme disease, but if we notice a sudden-onset fever and crying to call them. It can be 2-12 days before symptoms show up. A friend then told me this morning that ticks can live for SIX MONTHS without feeding. We actually probably picked it up last week at her house, because she lives on a farm near the woods and has two outdoor dogs.

I checked Valerie's scalp very carefully this morning in good light, and the spot where the tick was attached just had a tiny, light-colored scab; no redness or swelling whatsoever. But I'll keep an eye on it anyway.



Grad3 said...

Ugh- you kept your cool so much better than I could have!

tara said...

yea last night we were outside & wsk touched dog chew toy of indeterminate age so I brought him to wash his hands & discovered a big tick climbing up my hair. totally grossed out.

racheljherr said...

Hey Elizabeth! I found your blog thanks to Megan Tiller. I haven't snooped too much yet but I just read and loved the tick post. I might hate ticks more than any other living creature - we used to get lots of them when we lived in Keezletown.

Your daughter is beautiful.

Mike and I are expecting a baby mid-September. Terry would call us "poor things." :-)

Take care
-Rachel Herr (rachel kauffman herr on fbook)