No-Panic Guide to Kids' Cooties

Scabies, lice, pinworms -- gross! Kids catch all sorts of nasty critters, thanks to their contact with other children, not-so-great hygiene, immature immune systems, and close proximity to the ground. But most bugs rarely pose any serious health hazards. Follow our list to spot, treat, and prevent common infections fast.

Tick

What is it?
A pinhead-size brown mite that attaches itself to skin, increasing in size as it sucks up blood; can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

What to look for
If your child has been in a grassy, wooded area, regularly check her hair and body for ticks. The area around minor bites usually appears red.

What to do
Pull tick off with a pair of tweezers (save it in a jar in case you need to have it tested). Most bites don't require treatment, but see doctor if your child gets a rash, a fever, or muscle aches within a month of the bite.

How to prevent it
Dress your child in a light-colored long-sleeve shirt, and keep her pants tucked into her socks. Apply an insect repellent to exposed skin.

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