Protect Your Family Against Lyme Disease

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Summer–and vacation time–is in full bloom. Don’t give Lyme disease a chance to spoil your outdoor fun with friends and family.

Protect Your Family Against Lyme Disease

Photo courtesy of California Department of Public Health

Just like sun protection, most parents consider insect repellent a must-have item in any outdoor activity backpack. Insect-borne diseases such as Lyme disease are on the rise, and they shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you return from a day of fun in the woods or back country, always check yourself and your children for ticks; check not only on skin and in hair, but also in clothing.

How do you get Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. It is transmitted to humans through an infected black-legged or deer tick. It can cause serious health problems in adults, and children are more vulnerable. Children aged fifteen and under represent about quarter of all reported cases of Lyme disease.

Symptoms

The first symptom is usually an expanding rash occurring in 80% to 90% of all Lyme disease cases. A rash can be accompanied by other symptoms such as joint pains, chills, fever, and fatigue. If you suspect that you could have been exposed to infected ticks in critical areas (see CDC’s maps and data per state), you should seek medical attention.

Protect Your Family Against Lyme Disease

Photo courtesy of emaxhealth.com

The symptoms of Lyme disease in children often look very different from those experienced by adults. Children may develop sleep problems including nightmares, bed-wetting at night and increased urination during the day. Some children may experience strange skin sensations, others  may feel discomfort when touched. Children often complain of headaches that can range from mild to severe; they commonly experience isolated neuro-psychiatric and gastrointestinal changes. These symptoms might not immediately suggest the diagnosis of Lyme disease, so if you have visited any areas that are known for prevalence of ticks (such as the state of Connecticut, with estimated 1 in 100 people infected with Lyme disease each year, Delaware, Maine , Massachusetts and others) and/or suspect any exposure to ticks, inform your pediatric doctor immediately.

For more detailed information, see the links below.

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