Ticks: they are, quite possibly, the worst part of the summer season. Not only are these pesky bugs disgusting to look at, they are also known to carry diseases that can make even the strongest very, very sick. And while we think organizations have done a good job of educating the public, there is a lesser-known, teeny-tiny tick that many don’t know about.
You see, around this time last year, Ohio mother Beka Setzer was busy enjoying the hot weather with her 3-year-old daughter, Emmalee. This, of course, included plenty of outdoor playtime— something that, at the time, seemed ordinary enough on the surface, until something completely terrifying happened.
After stepping back inside their home from a routine day of play in the backyard sprinklers, Beka noticed something odd—a smattering of black dots all over little Emmalee’s legs.
In an interview with CBS News, the mother recalls her initial response to the mysterious specks. “I just quickly assumed it was a grass seed,” Beka remembers. “It wasn’t until I tried brushing them off with my hand that I noticed they weren’t coming off, and upon much closer inspection I noticed they were actually tiny bugs that were attached to her skin.”
Yep, we almost lost our lunch after seeing this, too!
Once Beka realized that these black dots were not seeds, but bugs, she started the long process of removing them from her toddler’s skin. It was then that she got a closer look at the stealthy critters and quickly recognized them as ticks. She estimates that she removed at least 200 of them in total that day!
Following her laborious tick-removing session, Beka gave Emmalee several dish soap baths as well as a dose of Benadryl, but even that didn’t stop the tyke from waking up the next morning with a severe rash, a high fever, and a swollen lymph node.
Emmalee was quickly rushed to the emergency room, where she was prescribed a long course of antibiotics. Luckily, the girl did not test positive for Lyme disease, but she did end up having to undergo surgery due to complications with her swollen lymph node. Poor girl!
Once her daughter was “out of the woods”, so to speak, Beka took to social media to both share her experience and warn others of these furtive and potentially life-threatening bugs. Since posting to Facebook last year, the story has been shared millions of times. Good looking out, Beka!
The tiny ticks that wreak havoc
The tick bites with which little Emmalee was afflicted came from dog tick larva, otherwise known as “seed ticks”. As you have seen, just because they are small, doesn’t mean their bites don’t pack a punch. They are considered to be even more dangerous than adult dog ticks because they are hard to spot, and sometimes even harder to remove.
If you find these—or any ticks, for that matter—attached to your skin, remove each and every one using a pair of tweezers as soon as possible. Finish it up by treating the area with iodine, alcohol, or soap and water.
While most tick bites end up being benign, the ones associated with diseases, like Lyme, usually show their wrath in the form of a rash. If you develop one, visit a healthcare professional immediately. Though it may be nothing, it is never a situation to take lightly!
We’d love to hear from you about all things ticks! Have you ever encountered a seed tick before? If so, what was your experience? How do you stay clear of ticks?