Ticks!!!!!!!! I'm Freaking Out!

Updated on July 20, 2010
J.A. asks from Spartanburg, SC
11 answers

My children and I went to visit family friends last week, we stayed 3 nights/4 days in their home. My son slept in his pack n play (which he sleeps in at home too) and my daughter and I slept in 2 twin beds. We all 3 shared the same room. I took a suitcase full of clothes, a bag of toys, and 3 pillows. The morning of the day we drove home I felt "something" on my back. After driving 6 hours and talking to my husband for a bit I asked him to look at it and it was an engorged tick! He took it off, but I am a little worried about the bite and potential probs. The tick was on me for AT LEAST 8+ hours, but could easily been longer...do I need to see the doctor? Also, two days later I found 4 more ticks all at the same time! My husband pulled them all off, they were much smaller and came off easier than the first. I then decided that I brought an infestation of ticks back home with us and put the pillows and bags (that I fortunatly hadn't unpacked yet) in the garage for the night, and stripped the bed since I had been sleeping there and I had layed the suitcase on it to that morning to get one article of clothing from. We inspected the mattress pad before putting new sheets on and I found another tick crawling on my bed! I also found an unattched tick on my husband. So far I haven't found any on the kids. What do I do???I can't handle pulling ticks off everyday, any products I can use on me and the kids safely everyday just in the house? I don't want to spary us with deet all day just to hang out in the house! THe home we stayed at had 2 dogs and the area around the house was very overgrown. What do I do? Please any and all suggestions, Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for such great responses. My husband and I have not found anymore on us, HOWEVER my youngest has had a tick behind his ear the past two days when he wakes up. SO. I am vaccuuming like crazy (including kids beds)and I bought carpet dust and upholestry spray which I will use tomorrow when the kids are out of the house all day. I also bought deet free tick repellent that we are applying to ourselves a couple of times a day. Thank you so much! If I keep finding ticks by the end of the week then I am calling an exterminator! Anyone else reading this that has more suggestions please post, thanks!

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answers from Tallahassee on

Hi there, First off don't freak out. I would only see a doctor if there is a bullseye rash. (It happen to my husband) We live on 10 acers so ticks are sort of the norm for us. The creepy litltle buggers but most of the time they are harmless. The bite area does itch for weeks at a time.

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answers from Washington DC on

ticks are gross and oogly, but i would not freak out. is there a bullseye rash where the tick was? if not, and if you feel okay, just keep your eyes open and go on with your life. they're not like fleas, they're not going to multiply and infest your house, just squish or flush them until they're gone.
we live in the middle of tick central, woods and grass and deer everywhere. we have dog ticks and deer ticks, and spend all summer yoinking them out of the animals (even using frontline) and occasionally each other. obviously one wants to avoid getting them in the first place, but i agree with you that deet 24/7 is not a good idea.
put disinfect on the site of any bites, do daily inspections, wash everything from the trip thoroughly, but other than that i'd relax and chalk it up it one of those things.

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answers from Detroit on

JA---A couple of suggestions. Contact an exterminator. They will, at least, give you some ideas on how to eliminate any remaining ticks. If you keep finding them in the meantime, you might want to have them come in the house and take care of it professionally.

Secondly, my husband just did some research on the internet about ticks. He and our son are going canoeing and camping in the Boundry Waters in Ontario. They suggest that you keep the little buggers in a sealed container in case you might get sick. It will then help everyone confirm and follow-up with any disease. I know that states track cases of lymes and other diseases very carefully.

You will have to be diligent for a time until you are certain they are gone. Vaccum, vaccum, vaccum. Shame on your friends for not telling you of the tick problem. With that many, they had to know about it. But don't freak, it is what it is. And it will be over soon.

Be sure that you are doing everything you can to support your immune system. Good advice for life, actually. Let me know if you'd like some ideas, I'd be glad to help. I am taking a series of wellness classes taught by a Naturopath who has her PhD in Nutrition. I'm pretty sure I have some great ideas for you. Take care, hang in there. In health, D.

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answers from New York on

My son had Lyme disease twice and I had it once. My brother had Lyme disease and my brother-in-law had Lyme disease. My sister-in-law had Lyme disease 3 times. I wrote a paper on Lyme disease in college. (We live near Lyme, CT where the disease was discovered, also my husband is from an area in which Lyme disease is very very prevalent and we spend a lot of time there, in fact the town offers free Lyme testing every few months because it is so common.

Please do not rely on the symptom of developing a bull's eye rash. Everyone does not get the rash. My sister-in-law is the only one in my family that developed the rash with her Lyme disease and that was only in one of her cases.

The bacteria has to be in your blood system atleast a week or two before a test willl come back positive. It is not uncommon to get a false negative test result.

Symptoms to look for are fatique, general malaise and achy arthritis like pain in the joints. The Mayo Clinic and Center for Disease Control website have most reliable information.

Many doctors are not as knowledgeable about Lyme disease as you would like to think they are. If you think that you or one of your family members contracted Lyme, you must be knowledgeable about the disease and be persistent with the doctor (a fact of life these days).

The tick that carries Lyme disease is very small and often never found on the body. You can learn more on the Centers for Disease Control website.

I would put your tick infested belongings in a dark garbage bag and leave everything in the bag for about a week to try and suffocate the remaining ticks. Vacuum the house thoroughly including all the beds and furniture (I am sure you have already done this)

Dog ticks, the larger ticks can also carry bacteria and disease, Just beware and be on the look out for symptoms of illness. You can learn about other tick born illness on the Center for Disease Control Website.

Good Luck, I am sure everyone is fine, just be on the look out for any signs of illness, caught in the early stages, treatment with abx is very successful. It is when Lyme is not treated it becomes a problem.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Oh I can see why you are freaking out... I would be too.

I would definitely suggest you at least call your doctor and see if they feel you should be seen. With the potential for Lyme Disease, I think I'd want to be checked.

God bless you!!!

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answers from Washington DC on

We, too, have a large piece of property and ticks are the norm. We keep the lawn mowed - ticks like overgrowth. We find that if we keep nature at bay, we have fewer ticks. We have 2 cats and a dog - all of them are frontlined and wear flea and tick collars... I wonder if your friend was late with the frontline or forgot or something... bad timing, I'd say!

First - the ticks that cause Lyme disease are the tiniest ticks. If you can see 'em crawling - they are probably just dog ticks. It's gross, I know.
Take everything you brought with you to your friends' and wash it. Spray your suitcase with raid or something and leave it sit open until the smell goes away.
Don't freak. Chances are you've found most of them.
Check the children whenever you give them a bath or change diapers or clothes just to be sure. It's a good habit to get into anyway -- there are ticks everywhere.
Hope those nasty ticks are gone.

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answers from Chicago on

If you still have the ticks that you took off you. Bring them to the doc and have them checked for Lymes disease. UHGG I feel you, I will not go to my husbands grandpas until the Fall for that exact reason. We had them damn seed ticks, (they look like tiny freckles). And I can not handle it. I would call an exterminator or go to the store and see if you can Bomb the stuff in the garage.. Either way I would call the doc and let them know you could be exposed to it. They might treat you like you have it for protection.

Good luck.

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answers from Springfield on

Just like Rachel K. my son also had Lyme Disease so I did a lot of research about it at the time. His symptoms didn't appear until months after he had a tick stuck in him, and he never had a rash, but with antibiotics and homeopathy we were able to get rid of the symptoms.

The tick has to be attached to you for more than 48 hours in order for the Lyme spirochetes to get into your blood stream. They lay dormant in the tick until the tick has started to feed and it's body temperature rises to a certain degree to "wake" the spirochetes up. Then they flow from the tick into your blood. (Gross, I know.) So checking everyone daily is a great way to prevent you from getting Lyme Disease. Make sure to check in all of the "cracks", and I do mean all, since they like the warmth and darkness of these places. (We have found them "there" on our kids.)

To remove a tick:
The tick corkscrews it's way into the skin rotating itself clockwise. So to remove a tick we grab as close to the head as we can with tweezers and rotate the tweezers counter clockwise. This unscrews the tick and you don't have to worry about pulling the tick off and leaving the head stuck in your body. You can also rub a slightly damp cotton ball on a bar of soap and they place the cotton ball on the tick and twist counterclockwise. The tick gets caught up in the cotton and gets twisted out. Be patient when twisting.

Just be diligent about checking.

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answers from Columbus on

Oh, dear, JA.. just be assured that the ticks ARE NOT INFESTING YOUR HOUSE. When we moved to our acreage I was freaked out about the same thing as we came in w/ ticks almost daily..

But, alas, we were getting them from outside only.. You may have had a tick (or two, or ??) that stowed away upon your self or in your luggage, but they will very soon show up, you will take them off and that will be the end of it.

Edit: after reading JL's response, apparently you CAN have them in the house! I've heard from the extension agent that that was very very unlikely/unknown.. Rug Patrols sounds like a good option!

Just watch the area and make sure you don't get the 'bullseye' mark of Lyme disease, but I live in west GA and have been assured by an ER doctor that he hasn't seen even one case of it here. RockyMtn Fever is more likely, but he hasn't seen that either.. ;)

Please take a deep breath, and this too shall pass.. my bet: they were picked up in the overgrown area around the house.

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answers from Indianapolis on

The chances of developing something from the ticks is slim, but because some of the conditions like Lyme Disease are serious, you may want to call your doctor at some point just to be sure.
Here's some good information from MayoClinic.com. It has steps of when to contact your health provider after a tick bite. You can enter "ticks" into their search field and come-up with all kinds of information.

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tick) also has information on how ticks spread and how to treat the home. Just be cautious as you're selecting products with your kids' health in mind.

Bugs don't bother me, so I personally wouldn't have freaked out too badly, but anything there's something feeding off your body (blood, in particular), it's always wise to be mindful and keep an eye on it.
Good luck!
Good luck!

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answers from New York on

if you have pulled them off your body, i'd go to a doctor and get antibiotics, for 3 weeks to ensure you don't get lyme disease. in meantime, get an exterminator. i don't trust deet with young kids around, so i wouldn't spray that on you or them. i really don't know what else to say but i freak out every time we step into our backyard, which is connected to woods, and i have seen deer come inside the backyard many a times. nothing i can do about it, except thorough check on me and kids every time we come inside.

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