June 8, 2018
Treating a Tick Bite in an Infant
By Stephanie Scavelli
Last Friday I found a tick attached to the scalp of my infant child. The risk of Tick-borne disease in the Northeast United States is serious. After consulting with a medical doctor, three herbalists, a friend treating Chronic Lymes and a mommy friend this is what I learned about what to do when my child gets bit by a tick.
Scrape, Don’t Tweeze
When we find a tick attached, it is important to remove it right away. However, there is technique to properly removing it. Ticks are to be scraped off the skin with a fingernail or flat edge of a blade. This Tick-Off Removing came highly recommended from my mommy friend to do the job.
After calling herbalist Susun Weed on her blog talk radio show to ask how to best remove a tick she explained that they are to be scraped off. Our discussion can be heard on the recording of the May 22, 2018 blog talk radio show. Click here to listen.
However, I tweezed the tick off my child. It was extremely painful for her; it destroyed the body of the tick and it appeared that part of the tick still remained.
Even after a doctor took a scalpel to the area (yes, my poor child was traumatized) a black dot still remained. I assumed, as did the doctor, that it was an embedded tick head. Herbalist Susun Weed explained otherwise. The black was actually the blood of the host which clots at the site of feeding. I regret the trauma my child went through as the doctor took a small knife to her scalp. ( I guess I didn’t need to put activated charcoal paste on it either to draw out a head. )
Treating the Area
We were advised by the doctor to monitor for signs of redness in a bull’s eye and to keep the area washed with soap and water and treat with over-the-counter antibiotic ointment like Neosporin.
We definitely kept the area clean but instead of the antibiotic ointment we followed an herbal protocol with treating the area with Echinacea tincture. If we had Yarrow tincture we could have used that too.
I was advised on two accounts - from an herbalist and a friend treating chronic Lymes - to consider a preemptive treatment of antibiotics. While the caveat is that fut flora can be repopulated however contracting Lymes can be seriously debilitating and cause great suffering. I was hospitalized in 2014 from contracting a tick-borne disease. I personally experienced the severity of such illness and take the risks of Lymes seriously.
Considering the following factors:
the tick was not attached for more than 24 hrs
the bite area never turned red or looked irritated
the tick was not engorged, and
my child is a only a 13-month old infant.
We felt it best to refrain from an immediate course of antibiotics and either did the pediatrician recommend it. The medical advice was to monitor for fevers or redness and to return in 6-8 week to do a blood test, if we still felt concerned.
Supporting an Infant Body with Herbs
Less than one dropper full of non-alcoholic Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea or the prefered E. augustifolia) tincture in glycerin is put into her water bottle to sip on throughout the day. We stopped at Found Herbal Apothecary in Bronxville, NY and purchased one ounce of dried Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) root to decoct into a diluted infusion. We turned this into ice cubes and on days my child does not receive Echinacea she instead gets a cube of Astragalus in her water. I will immediately seize both herbs if my child shows signs of fever.
Since I am still breastfeeding my child I am also taking Echinacea and Astragalus too in the hopes that my milk will be rich and medicinal for my child.
Herbs for Treating Lymes Disease
Through my research I also learned that the following herbs are indicated in the treatment of active Lymes Disease. However, I did not confirm children doses or safety.
Preventing Ticks from Attaching
Prevention is the best medicine. However, since hiding indoors is not a real option and neither is keeping my baby in a bubble, we opt for bathing her regularly and immediately when coming in from outdoor play, long pants and tucking her socks and avoiding high grass areas and barberry bushes.
About the Author
Certified Yoga Instructor Stephanie Scavelli practices a plant-based diet and traditional herbal medicine. She laughs endlessly at the adventurous whit of the animation series Rick & Morty. She wears minimalist, barefoot-inspired shoes and her favorite dessert is her sister's Oatmeal Crusted Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Stephanie lives in Westchester County, NY with her daughter Juniper. For yoga classes and workshops near you visit www.yogaforager.com.