An Australian mum has warned parents to check their children’s skin after what she thought was a spot behind her daughter’s ear was something far more disturbing.
She encouraged others to ‘thoroughly check’ their children in a place many would never think to look — behind the backing of earrings. The caution comes as ticks enter their most troublesome period in the spring months.
"So ticks are out,” the post shared to social media started.
“I know many parents check their children, but there's one place I've never checked before. If your child has earrings, please check behind the backings,” she explained. “[My daughter] thought it was a pimple and obviously, it was not! I took the earrings out before the pics. Check thoroughly!!"
The warning comes as a reminder that ticks can be found anywhere on a person or animal.
What are ticks?
Ticks are parasites that feed on both human and animal blood.
There are over 70 different types of ticks in Australia and they are most common on the east coast of Australia. Ticks can be found in fallen leaves, tall grass and bushes and even in the lawn in a backyard. Experts advise to keep lawns short to deter ticks.
In Australia, the paralysis tick can kill pets. They can also harm wildlife when the animal’s immune system is compromised. New research recently revealed ticks are drawn towards their human or animal hosts by static electricity.
How do I remove a tick?
In Australia, the paralysis tick can kill pets. They can also harm wildlife when the animal’s immune system is compromised.
But if you are affected by a tick experts from Tick Induced Allergies Research & Awareness (TIARA) advise the best way to remove a tick is to freeze the area with an ether-containing spray which can be bought at a pharmacy.
“We need to remove ticks without squeezing or irritating them — if you are using tick forceps, metho, tea tree oil, or other tick removers that might get the tick out, but they inject allergen-containing saliva when removed that way,” the post, by Safety & first aid service page CPR Kids explains. Removing the tick without freezing the area risks people developing a condition called mammalian meat allergy, whereby people bitten by ticks develop serious allergies to certain types of meat.
How weather affects ticks
Dr Alex Gofton, Research Scientist, at Australia’s national science agency CSIRO added that the weather system El Nino will bring “drier than usual conditions” meaning ticks will be less prevalent than in wetter years.
“Ticks are active all year round but the adults usually emerge and are more active in the spring and early summer months,” he explains. “With an El Nino year expected, the drier than usual conditions should see reduced tick numbers compared to the previous years which have seen a wetter winter and spring.
Dr Alex advises Australians to protect themselves from ticks by covering up.
“Always cover up when entering tick habitats, wearing long sleeves and pants, and tucking your pant legs into your socks (this stops them crawling up the inside of your leg),” he says. “Use a topical insect repellent that is active on ticks such as Bushman, and be smart about your activities and behaviours in a tick area. Sitting or laying in the leaf litter may seem like a good way to rest during that hike, but you’re likely to bring home a little friend!”
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.