What not to do if your child is bitten by a tick: A step-by-step guide

Written by Debra Beaulieu-Volk

Before we begin, a confession. There are two things that make me mildly irrational: actual or potential harm coming to one of my children and bugs.

So as you can imagine, the sight of a tick burrowing its head into my seven-year-old’s flesh—the threat of Lyme disease or babesiosis aside—did not inspire some of my best moments.As a parent, I get caught in the same mental tug-of-war as anyone else, with medically validated advice grasping one end of the rope, and self-doubt, worst-case scenarios, and various forms of peer pressure yanking wildly at the other.

As for the tick scenario, we recently posted on Salud’s Facebook page the correct steps to follow, with a link to further information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is sound advice. And technically, with the exception of rule No. 1—don’t panic—I did okay.

In the end everything was fine, but the experience illustrates a clear example of how straightforward medical issues can be emotionally complex when it comes to our kids.

Here’s how the incident played out, and what we can learn from it:

1. Freak out. I’d been idly playing with my daughter’s hair when I noticed a bug on the back of her neck that wouldn’t brush off. She’d spent the night at her father’s and they’d gone hiking the prior afternoon.

Never having dealt with a tick situation before, the realization it’d been on her overnight made me nervous, and I didn’t hide it very well. Picking up on my anxiety, the kids got worked up, too, making the whole process more difficult.

2. Extract tick. This was the easy part. I got the whole thing out intact, sealed it into a Ziploc, and then cleaned the tiny wound with soap and water, as per CDC instructions.

3. Debate whether to call the pediatrician’s office. I’d reviewed several lists delineating “when to call your doctor,” and determined that the possibility it had been on her for over 24 hours was justification enough. Plus, I reasoned I’d just “let them know,” for public health reasons.

4. Breathe. My call may have been superfluous, but the nurse who called back provided not just medical advice, but also the emotional reassurance my daughter and I needed (thanks to step 1). As the nurse advised, I marked my calendar with the date to reference if my daughter later developed a fever, rash, or other symptoms.

5. Instagram it (or it didn’t happen). I had taken three photos—of the tick embedded, removed, and bagged—which I fashioned into a digital collage and posted on Instagram in close to our first calm moment.

While my real motivation was to reap a little cyber-pat on the back for a job (not so) well done, I spun it as a public service announcement to remind fellow parents to check their kids after playing outside.

6. Welcome the trolls. “Yay, comments!” I thought. But it quickly turned to, “Ooh, some really smart people and great parents are suggesting I should get my daughter on antibiotics.” In response, I summarized the instructions I was given and went about my day.

When posting about parenting decisions (in my case, not requesting antibiotics), we open ourselves up to others’ opinions, which can be tough to ignore. But I’d already solicited and followed excellent advice from the most credible source: My pediatrician’s office.

7. Reflect. As I said, all turned out fine, though it could have been far smoother. We’re all human, of course.

But when it comes to the health and well-being of our children—which we all agree is a top priority—we need to be disciplined enough to regulate our emotions, trust advice given by our pediatricians or vetted sources such as, and think twice about the ramifications of what we share online.


Western Suburbs of Chicago: What You Need to Know About The Measles 

Many parents have contacted the office with concerns regarding the current measles outbreak.

As of today, there are no confirmed cases of measles in our area other than the isolated case identified in Palatine nearly 2 weeks ago.

If you or your family members were present at any of the following locations during the dates listed below, and are showing signs of illness, please contact the cook county health department (847-818-4020).

• Supermercado Guzman, 1611 N. Baldwin Road in Palatine, between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Jan. 12 & 13
• Northwest Community Hospital emergency room, 800 W. Central Road in Arlington Heights, from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 14 and from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 17
• Vista Clinic, 1585 N. Rand Road in Palatine between 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Jan. 16

Overall, there have been 102 cases identified nationally in 14 states, with the vast majority localized to California.

The CDC provides an up-to-date surveillance website with number of current cases and location and it is updated frequently.

Be mindful that social media sites may not be accurate sources of information. Please see this information at

Please also review the following comprehensive information available on the website for details about measles itself, transmission, signs and symptoms, complications, and vaccine recommendations.

To date, there are no changes to the CDC recommendations for the measles vaccination schedule.

At Salud Pediatrics, we continue to recommend timely vaccinations for all our patients as they are the best and safest way to prevent the spread of vaccine preventable illness.

Vaccinations are not only important for individual health, but also our health as a community.

By providing timely immunizations to each individual, we also protect those who cannot receive the vaccine – for example, those that are too young, battling cancer, or immune disorders.

The current vaccine recommendations are as follows:

CDC recommends routine childhood immunization for MMR vaccine starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age or at least 28 days following the first dose.

Students at post-high school educational institutions:
Students at post-high school educational institutions without evidence of measles immunity need two doses of MMR vaccine, with the second dose administered no earlier than 28 days after the first dose.

People who are born during or after 1957 who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.

International travelers:
People 6 months of age or older who will be traveling internationally should be protected against measles. Before travelling internationally,

• Infants 6 through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine
• Children 12 months of age or older should have documentation of two doses of MMR vaccine (the first dose of MMR vaccine should be administered at age 12 months or older; the second dose no earlier than 28 days after the first dose)
• Teenagers and adults born during or after 1957 without evidence of immunity against measles should have documentation of two doses of MMR vaccine, with the second dose administered no earlier than 28 days after the first dose.


Written by Dr. Sandra Graba


New Office Hours Beginning in February

We wanted to let all of those wonderful parents that entrust the care of their children to us that we will be making changes to our office hours.

The change is due to Dr. Graba’s maternity leave. That’s right! For those that don’t know, Dr. Graba and her family is expecting their third child. Yay Dr. Graba!

The office hours change will go into effect the last week of February (beginning Feb 23rd)

We expect to return to our regular office hours in May of this year.

We will update our hours page on once the new schedule goes into effect as to not cause any confusion.

In the meantime, here’s the new schedule:

Monday 9:00am to 5:00pm  
Tuesday 9:00am to 6:00pm  
Wednesday 9:00am to 5:00pm  
Thursday 9:00am to 6:00pm  
Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm   
Saturday 9:00am to 1:00pm  
Sunday Closed  

Is Money Dirty? It Is, But Not In Ways You'd Think. 

During this time of the year, we often hear about the importance of washing our hands so that we don't spread germs.

We tell our kids to use their elbows, instead of their hands, to cover cough or sneezes. We also ensure they use hand sanitizer as often as they can after playing outside, touching grocery carts and visiting the restroom.

As it turns out, there is something just as bad at spreading germs that most don't even consider it. And that is MONEY

Dr. Pai, from Kids Plus Pediatrics explains to use that scientists are discovering a surprising number of microbes (Bacteria, Viruses, and Fungi) living on cash.

His conclusion? Bottom line: all money is dirty, and bad germs lurk in many unexpected places!

To read in detail Dr. Pai's article, click on the link below


More on: Flu or Cold, What is the Difference? 


Although vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu, practicing healthy habits can also lend a hand in prevention. For example, washing your children’s hands and asking them to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing is a good way to avoid spreading germs. Of course it always best to stay away from people who are sick. 

Flu vs. Colds

Flu symptoms can vary from child to child – and they can change as the illness progresses. The flu has symptoms that make a child worse than symptoms associated with a common cold. However, it is not that easy to tell the difference between the two. To help decide whether your child is fighting the flu or a cold, ask yourself these questions about your child’s symptoms.

Questions to ask - Is it Flu or is it a Cold?


Flu Cold

Was your child's onset of illness Sudden Slow

Does your child have a Fever No (or mild) fever

Is your child's exhaustion level Severe Mild

Is your child's cough Dry Severe or hacking

Is your child's throat Fine Sore

Is your child's head Achy Headache - free

Is your child's appetite Decreased Normal or midly decreased

Are your child's muscles Achy Fine

Does your child have Chills No Chills


What to do if my child has the flu? 

Unlike other infections, the flu does not always require treatment. But it is always best to inform your pediatrician since the illness can become complicated if your child is running a fever and/or dehydrated. Doctors may prescribe an antiviral medicine, but in reality, these medicine usually only shorten the course of the infection by just 1 or 2 days-provided your child’s illness is reported at an early stage. Here are a few helpful tips one can do to help your child feel better should he or she come down with the flu.

  • Offer plenty of fluids. Try ice pops, icy drinks and soft fruits should your child get tired of drinking water.
  • Encourage bed rest.
  • Acetaminophens (such as Tylenol) and ibuprofens (such as Advil or Motrin) tend to relieve aches and pains. Do not give aspirin.
  • It is important to continue encouraging healthy habits by washing you and your family’s hands thoroughly and often. 
  • Keep them home from work or school. You will help prevent others from catching their illness.

Common Cold

Common cold symptoms may include sore throat, headache, mild fever, aches and loss of appetite. Unfortunately, no effective cold vaccine has ever been developed, so it is not easy to prevent. But much like the flu, practicing healthy habits can go a long way.

Some people believe that kids may be more vulnerable to colds if they do not eat nutritious meals; they are stressed or tired; if they are exposed to cold, wet weather - but there is little evidence to support many of these beliefs.

Treatment for the common cold is “time.” There isn’t much one can do. However you should contact your pediatrician if there is increased throat pain; coughing which produces green or gray sputum or lasts more than 10 days; fever lasting several days or over 101F; or if the child has shaking chills, chest pain or shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, poor intake of fluids, pain in the ear, unusual lethargy, enlarged, tender glands in the neck, or blue lips, skin or fingernails.