Mom shares terrifying photos to warn other parents about 'seed ticks'

Summer 2017 has already been declared an especially bad season for ticks due to the mild winter and growing deer and mice populations.

Amid mounting fears over the potentially deadly diseases the creatures can spread, one mother is raising concerns about a type of tick so small most people wouldn't be able to spot it on their own skin.

Beka Setzer, an Ohio mother of two young daughters, took to Facebook last summer to share shocking photos of her daughter Emmalee's legs after a day spent playing outside went awry.

"PSA," she wrote. "I'm putting this out there just a heads up for parents of kids who love to play outside during this time."

Setzer says she noticed hundreds of tiny black dots all over her daughter's legs, abdomen, arms and armpit area after she had come inside for a nap after "rolling around on the ground while enjoying the sprinkler."

"Thinking they may have just been seeds I tried to wipe then scrape one off and it was a TICK!" the disgusted mom wrote. "She must've been playing in or near a nest of tick larvae and was covered. I spent nearly an hour and a half picking off well over 100 minuscule baby ticks off of her."

Setzer said that although she acted quickly, giving her child a long bath, washing all her bedding and clothing and administering Benadryl, Emmalee was still sickened by the incident.

"This morning she woke up with a low grade fever, these spots on her and a hard, large marble sized swollen lymph node," Setzer wrote in her post, which has been shared over half a million times.

Due to the attentiveness and quick actions of her mother, Emmalee was able to be given an aggressive dose of antihistamines to clear up her ailments -- but others may not have been so lucky.

Ticks have the ability to spread Lyme disease, Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other potentially deadly illnesses.

Early detection and removal are key factors in stopping the transmission of these tick-borne disease.

"I want to make every parent aware of what these look like so you can be on the lookout," she concluded. "They're not as easy to see as the ticks you're likely looking for on yourself or children."

Setzer took to Facebook again on April 19 after her daughter was bitten a second time, just to remind others how tiny the menacing creatures can be.

"I just found one on my daughter after playing outside and after last year's horrible tick incident, I wanted to get the word out again," she wrote. "Here is a picture of the one I just found for size reference!"

While seed ticks, which are just regular ticks in larval form, are much smaller than regular ticks, they cannot simply be brushed off the body.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to remove a tick of any kind is to use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the creature as close to the skin's surface as possible and then pull upward with steady, even pressure.

The CDC warns against twisting or jerking the tick, as this can cause the mouth and head of the insect to break off and remain embedded in the skin.

Once the tick has been successfully removed, it may be sent off to a lab for testing, or disposed of by submerging it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed container, wrapping it tightly in tape or flushing it down the toilet.

Feeling terrified of ticks? Worry not -- here's how to protect yourself from the blood-sucking demons:

How to avoid tick bites
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How to avoid tick bites

1. Stay in the middle of the path

When hiking, make sure to stay in the middle of the path. Weeds, grass and trees make it easier for ticks to crawl onto you. Don't venture out to the grass or bushes, where ticks are formidable to be hiding. 

2. Wear long pants and closed toed shoes

Protect your skin. Adding an extra layer makes it more difficult to latch on to you. It's smart to wear pants, long sleeves and hats, especially in the summer.

3. Invest in deer-resistant plants. 

Since ticks feed on and are transported by deer, try looking into deer-resistant plants. French marigolds, rosemary, mint and crape myrtle are just some of the greens deer tend to "overlook". 

See a complete list of the herbs and flowers here

4. Check your dog! 

Dogs can literally bring ticks right to your front door. Prevent ticks by keeping their coats short in the summer. Use your hands to check the fur, stopping if you feel a pea-sized bump. Favorite spots ticks like to hide include the ears, toes and under the tail. 

Dog ticks don't "harbor diseases that sicken people", but you should still be wary. 

5. Yes, repellant can help. 

According to TickenEncounter, spray with DEET does not provide "sufficient" protection. Get spray for your clothes like Permethrin, which instantly kills ticks. 

6. Dry your clothes 

The CDC recommends tumble drying clothes immediately for ten minutes after you've been outside. Ticks can easily "dry out" with high heat, but you should make sure the clothes are completely dry. 

Warning: Ticks can survive the wash. 

7. Tuck your pants into your socks.

This covers the small, easily accessible space in between your pants and ankles. Especially if you are sitting, it makes it easier for ticks to latch on. 

8. Stay in the sun.

Since ticks survive in shady, humid environments, researchers agree that staying in the sun lowers the risk for ticks. According to LiveScience, ticks "can't survive" in places with lower than 80% humidity. 

9. Invest in Permethrin socks

The chemical is successful in protecting against ticks, mosquitoes and other types of bites. estimates that permethrin-treated footwear offered 74 times the protection from bites.

10. Mow your lawn

Cut your grass, clean your yard, get rid of any extra firewood or wood chips. 


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