Varacchi’s Tick Encounter
I have a nice big backyard (#braggadoccio), and my family likes to spend a lot of time out there. My older daughter and our two dogs love to run around, covering all corners of our property. It's easy to give our dogs flea/tick collars, but we haven't found one in human size, so unfortunately, we found a tick on our daughter.
My wife was bitten by a tick carrying Lyme Disease when she was younger, and doctors constantly mis-diagnosed her, which led to more long-term issues, so ticks are not something we take lightly in our house.
My daughter is three and a half years old, so she's just at that point where bugs freak her out, so trying to get her to remain still while we removed a tick from the back of her neck was an issue by on its own. Luckily, the bug wasn't embedded, and I managed to tweeze it off without much resistance. We cleaned the bite, and put the tick in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.
I've pulled ticks off of our dogs before, and actually pulled some really swollen bastards off. This one was still mostly flat, so I was hopeful that it hadn't had time to feed and transmit anything. Still, we wanted to be more safe than sorry, so we spent a while Googling where to get the tick tested.
The Ocean County governmental page ended up giving us our best info: there was a tick identification office right on Whitesville Road in Toms River. First thing the next morning, I called and found out what to do next. With pandemic restrictions in place, I couldn't go to the office and bring the tick, but they provided me with an email address where I could send pictures. I sent a few pictures, and within about an hour I got a response:
Honestly, my own quick Googling led me to believe it was a dog tick, not a deer tick, but it was still a relief to get confirmation from an expert.
Of course, learning about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever freaked us out too, but after reading about the symptoms and seeing none of them present in our daughter, my wife and I were both totally relieved.
It's nice to know that with the insane amount of ticks we have in our area, there is a great place to get a tick identified, and a number of testing locations around too.