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What is a deer tick?

A deer tick is a little, brown-black tick that carries the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Deer ticks are found outdoors in wooded, grassy, or marshy areas, including backyards in specific regions of the US (the Northeast, California, and the North-Central States).

The tiny tick attaches itself to the skin to feed becoming gradually engorged over several hours. Look over your child’s skin at the end of each day, keeping a close eye on the areas behind ears and along the hairline. If a tick is found, use tweezers to gently remove the entire tick without squeezing it; then clean the area with first aid cream or rubbing alcohol. If you are concerned that the tick has been attached for longer than a few hours or are unsure if the tick is a deer tick, save it to show to a physician. Most cases of Lyme disease occur in people who carried the tick for longer than 24 hours, although it can happen in a shorter time.

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, April 2019

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