What is it?
Lyme disease is caused by a type of bacteria that is spread to humans through the bite of a deer tick that is infected with the bacteria. The tick needs to be attached to the body for about 48 hours for transmission to take place. Not all ticks are deer ticks and not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria. The first sign of Lyme Disease is a red, circular rash with a small area of normal colored skin in the center (bulls eye rash). The rash usually starts small and gets larger over several days. It can occur as soon as 3 days after the bite and as long as 30 days after the bite. Not everyone infected with Lyme will get this rash. Other symptoms of Lyme Disease are headache, chills, fever, fatigue, swollen glands and joint pain. If no rash is present but your child has other symptoms a blood test may be ordered to diagnose Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.
What can I do?
Prevention is best way to avoid Lyme Disease. If outside in wooded or moist areas your child should wear a hat, long pants and long sleeves with pants tucked into socks if possible. If in the woods, try to keep your child to cleared trails and apply insect repellant prior to going outside. Insect repellant with less than 10% DEET may be applied to children over 1 year of age. Avoid applying it to the hands and face of young children and be sure to wash all repellant off when done enjoying the outdoors. DEET that is less than 30% may be applied to your child's clothing. Make it a habit to check for ticks each and every time your child comes inside from playing or spending time out doors.
If you find a tick on your child, you should remove it as soon as possible. If found crawling on the skin and is not attached just brush it off. If the tick is attached to the skin, use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull the tick straight out. Then wash the area with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment to area of bite twice daily. Mark the date of the tick bite on your calendar so if your child starts developing any symptoms of Lyme Disease we will know when the bite occurred.
When do I call the office?