If there's one thing we all can agree on, it's that ticks are vile, filthy creatures straight from the bowels of hell.

With the news of tick-borne illnesses on the rise and the potential risk of tick paralysis putting parents everywhere in a panic, it's almost tempting to keep kids indoors. Almost. Thankfully, there are tick-repelling sprays and clothing infused with permethrin to help ward off bites, but teaching your kids how to be tick-busting superheroes will, without a doubt, aid in prevention.

  • Get your kids started on a self tick-check routine at the end of a day spent playing outside.
  • Have them check their underarms, in and around ears, belly button, legs, scalp, hair, and around the waist.
  • Put clothes immediately in the washer (hot water cycle only) or put them in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes.
  • Have them take a shower and wash their hair within two hours of coming inside.

In a perfect world, kids would adhere to these instructions, but since that's not the case, you still need to plan for the worst-case scenario. If your son or daughter is bitten and you're unsure of what to do to properly remove the tick, watch as Dr. Kateryn Rochon of the University of Manitoba demonstrates the best way to pull off a tick:

Using tweezers, grab hold of the tick as close as you can to the skin's surface. Pull straight up in a slow, steady motion until removed.

If any part of the tick is left in the skin, get to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Should your child exhibit the following symptoms after getting bitten by a tick, get them to a hospital or urgent care immediately:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty walking or speaking
  • Rash
  • Inflamed circle around the bite area

Summertime is the season where kids are supposed to be kids. Running around through backyards, climbing trees, and hiking through forests are meant to be carefree activities in the mind of a child, but keeping them cognizant of ticks will help them stay healthy all summer long.

For more information on ticks, check out the page dedicated to them on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website.