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Lyme Disease Symptoms In Children


How To Remove Ticks From The Skin

First with Kids: Ticks & Lyme disease

If you find a tick on your childâs skin, follow these steps to remove it from the skin .

  • Do not touch the tick. Use a pair of tweezers to hold it gently as close to the skin as possible and remove it.
  • Do not try to crush the tick or kill it by using solvents, knives, or fire.
  • Place the tick in a plastic container so it may be tested for infection.
  • Wash the bitten area with an antiseptic solution and apply an ointment.

If your children have been indulging in outdoor activities, especially in a tick-infested area, ensure to take necessary precautions to prevent tick bites. However, if you notice any rash or symptoms related to tick bites after returning from your trip, get it diagnosed by a healthcare provider. Timely treatment will help your children recover from the disease completely.


  • Lyme Disease in Children.
  • Who Gets Lyme Disease

    Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia too.

    How To Prevent Lyme Disease In Children

    It is important to prevent Lyme disease because there are no vaccines available. Moreover, people cannot develop immunity against the disease, so they may get infected more than once.

    To prevent Lyme disease, children should

    • Wear light-colored clothes covering the entire body, socks, and closed-toe shoes.
    • Wear a hat to prevent ticks from entering the scalp.
    • Avoid moist and shaded places where tick infestation is possible.
    • Always stay on a clear trail where there are no shrubs or branches.
    • Use insect repellents. Products with DEET are safe on the skin and can repel ticks. However, they may not be able to kill them. Look for repellents that have not more than 30% DEET, as large amounts are unsafe for children. Ensure that children wash off the DEET after returning indoors.
    • Use products with permethrin only on the clothing and not on skin.
    • Check and remove the ticks after returning indoors. The ticks may be hiding behind the knees, underarms, between fingers and toes, belly button, neck, in and behind the ears.

    Ticks may also be found in your backyard, so keeping it clean by removing leaves and cutting tall grass is important. Pest control may also be done to reduce ticks in your garden.

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    What Are The Lyme Disease Symptoms In Children

    Some of the main questions surrounding Lyme disease and children include What are the symptoms of Lyme disease in Children? and Are the symptoms the same for children as adults?

    The symptoms of Lyme disease in adults is most often the same as Lyme disease symptoms in children. However, they may be harder to detect in children as they arent always your typical cold-like symptoms. Also, children often find it difficult to explain what they are feeling, especially when the symptoms come and go.

    It is important to be aware that so called developmental changes in an adolescent may be blamed for the childs sudden mood behavior, while an autism diagnosis may be displaying neurological symptoms of Lyme disease.

    Neurological symptoms reportedly develop in around 10-20% of children with borreliosis . A study conducted at Columbia University showed that children infected with Lyme displayed psychiatric and cognitive troubles, with long term these disturbances being the culprits for academic and psychosocial decline .

    Lyme disease symptoms in children often appear between 3-30 days from the time of exposure .

    The most frequently reported first noticeable symptom is that of a rash. Erythema Migrans , commonly referred to as a bulls eye rash, can present itself anytime after being bitten by a tick carrying Lyme disease, but is most often found within 7-14 days .

    Within the first two weeks of infection you may begin to notice flu like symptoms in your child. This can include:

    Ticks: What To Look For

    Tick Facts

    Ticks are part of the arachnid family, related to spiders. Like spiders, theyre eight-legged, and they are parasites, surviving by sucking blood from a host animal or person. Ticks can be difficult to spot. They can be as small as a poppy seed, but when theyre fully fed, they can grow to the size of a baked bean, Julia explains. They also become darker in colour as they feed and grow. They then drop off, often unnoticed. Ticks are also easy to miss because their bites are painless. They have a substance in their saliva that acts like a local anaesthetic, so people are often unaware that they have been bitten, says Julia. For this reason, if youve been out walking or playing in the natural environment, its important to check your child for ticks when you get home.

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    How Can You Prevent Lyme Disease

    Ticks are more prevalent during the warmer months of April through September however, tick bites can occur year-round. If your child is going to spend time outdoors, especially in an area where Lyme disease is common, you should take steps to prevent tick bites.

    When heading outside, children should:

    • Avoid grassy, brushy or wooded areas
    • Treat clothing and shoes with products containing 0.5% permethrin
    • Use EPA-registered insect repellents in children under 3 years old)
    • Wear long sleeves and pants as well as tall socks

    After coming inside, children should:

    • Check for ticks within 30 minutes especially under the arms, in the belly button, on the scalp and behind the ears
    • Remove any ticks you find on the body and clean the bite with soap and water
    • Take a shower after coming in from the outdoors

    “Prevention is key,” says Dr. Kahn, “especially if your child is playing outside in endemic areas.”

    How To Safeguard Your Family And Prevent Lyme Disease

    Now that youre aware of what Lyme disease is and how it affects your family, it pays to attempt to prevent the issue from occurring.

    Some of the ways to prevent contracting Lyme disease include:

    • Cutting down tall grass and brush to reduce the chance of ticks thriving
    • Dress your child in long sleeves and pants if they play out in wooded areas
    • Use a child-safe bug spray that prevents ticks
    • Check your child after theyve been out playing and pay attention to skin and hair for ticks
    • Have your child bathe and wash their hair and clothes when out in tick-prone areas
    • Keep your animals outside and make sure theyre medically treated

    Investigate how severe Lyme disease is in your area. Your neighbors or city might have information on what to do to prevent it, and how they manage it given your specific location.

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    How Long Does Is Take To Recover From Lyme Disease

    Most people with Lyme disease get better with antibiotics, although the symptoms may last for some time, even once treatment has finished. How long your childs symptoms last is variable. As with other illnesses, some children bounce back quickly, but others need much longer to get better, Julia explains. Some children will be able to go to school while they recover, but some cant. Lyme disease is a serious infection and the antibiotic doses are high, so plenty of rest is needed. If, however, your childs symptoms havent improved by the time they finish their antibiotics, or have worsened, they may be given a second course of a different antibiotic. Beyond this point, your child might be referred to a specialist for more blood tests and advice. Bear in mind, though, that symptoms may take a while to resolve.

    Lyme Disease Symptoms In Children

    What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

    Most kids who are prone to Lyme if treated immediately with antibiotics provide better prognosis. But if it is unattended or not treated for a long time it becomes a difficult proposition. The bacteria could attack your nervous system, eyes and muscles. The reaction ability of each individual to Lyme is different. Some may experience a major chunk of symptoms, whereas in case of others it could be restricted to a few.

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    How Can I Help Prevent Lyme Disease In A Child

    There is no vaccine for Lyme disease. A child who has had the disease doesnt build up immunity and can get it again. But you can help prevent Lyme disease by protecting your child from tick bites.

    Ticks cant bite through clothing, so dress your child and family in:

    • Long-sleeved shirts tucked into pants
    • Socks and closed-toe shoes
    • Long pants with legs tucked into socks

    Choose light-colored clothing so that ticks can be easily seen. Check your child often for ticks, including:

    • Behind the knees, between fingers and toes, in underarms, and in the groin
    • In the belly button
    • In and behind the ears, on the neck, in the hairline, and on top of the head
    • Where underwear elastic touches the skin
    • Where bands from pants or skirts touch the skin
    • Anywhere else clothing presses on the skin
    • All other areas of the body and hair

    Run fingers gently over the skin. Run a fine-toothed comb through your child’s hair to check for ticks.

    Other helpful tips include:

    • When possible, use cleared or paved paths when walking through wooded areas and fields.
    • Shower after outdoor activities are done for the day. It may take up to 4 to 6 hours for ticks to attach firmly to skin. Showering may help remove any loose ticks.

    Use insect repellents safely. The most common used against ticks are:

    Check your pets for ticks. Talk with your pets veterinarian about tick repellent medicine.

    Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

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    Lyme disease is an underreported, under-researched, and often debilitating disease transmitted by spirochete bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Lymes wide range of symptoms mimic those of many other ailments, making it difficult to diagnose .

    The blacklegged ticks can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are known as coinfections . These ticks that transmit Lyme are increasing their geographical spread. As of 2016, they were found in about half the counties in 43 of 50 states in the United States .

    Lyme is the fifth most reported of notifiable diseases in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases found annually . Some studies estimate that there are as many as 1 million cases of Lyme in the United States every year .

    Most people with Lyme who are treated right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.

    But if youre not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat. Within days of the bite, the bacteria can move to your central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and heart .

    Here is a list of 13 common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.

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    How Is Ld Treated

    Treatment of LD should follow the clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Academy of Pediatrics .

    There has been a shift to using shorter durations of antimicrobials and to more permissive use of oral drugs in select circumstances . Additionally, data on the safety of short courses of doxycycline for children < 8 years old, coupled with its proven efficacy for treating LD, including meningitis, has prompted more permissive use of this antimicrobial.

    Arthritis frequency has decreased in the United States, probably because of improved recognition and earlier treatment of patients with early LD. Up to one-third of LD patients with arthritis experience residual synovitis and joint swelling, which almost always resolve without repeating the antibiotic course. For patients who have persistent or recurrent joint swelling after a recommended course of oral antibiotic therapy, some experts recommend retreatment with another four-week course of oral antibiotics or with a course of parenteral ceftriaxone. For cases with ongoing arthritis, consultation with an expert is recommended. Consider hospitalization and constant monitoring for a child with heart block and syncope that may rapidly worsen enough to require a pacemaker.

    The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction can occur when therapy is initiated. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents should be started and the antimicrobial agent continued.

    What Are Possible Complications Of Lyme Disease In A Child

    Kids and Lyme Disease: Cognitive Symptoms and School

    Some children may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . This means that some symptoms last longer than 6 months. Symptoms can include:

    • Ongoing muscle and nerve pain
    • Tiredness
    • Problems with memory

    PLDS does not respond to antibiotics. That’s because there isn’t an active infection anymore. Treatment is aimed at helping to control the symptoms.

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    When To See A Healthcare Provider

    Since Lyme disease can take different forms, and since its often confused with other conditions, its important to be proactive if you suspect the condition. What signs prompt medical help? Call the healthcare provider if:

    • You have a bullseye rashor any kind of rashfollowing a tick bite.
    • You experience flu-like symptoms after a tick bite.
    • You experience symptoms of more advanced Lyme disease: arthritis, heart palpitations, facial paralysis, dizziness, and others.

    The Role Of Inflammation

    The authors point out that there is a difference in the type of Lyme bacteria in Europe compared to the United States. The one in the US is associated with a stronger inflammatory response.

    In general, mounting evidence supports the role of inflammation in mood disorders. Could kids in the US with LD be at even greater risk for psychiatric disturbances than their European counterparts? Presently, the answer is unknown, but more study is definitely required.

    When looking at the effects of LD or any infection in kids, its important to remember that they are not little adults biologically, and a variety of differences need to be taken into account. In adults with LD, evidence indicates that anywhere from 15%-40% experience neuroborreliosis or neurologic Lyme symptoms.

    Studies show that youth are more likely to experience central nervous system symptoms, meaning those limited to the brain and spinal cord, rather than peripheral nervous system manifestations

    Peripheral symptoms can include feelings of numbness, pain, tingling, muscle weakness, etc. CNS symptoms which can occur secondary to inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, may result in encephalitis meningitis, as well as radiculoneuritis

    Symptomatic manifestations of CNS involvement can include severe headache, stiff neck, fever, light sensitivity, double vision, and leg pain.

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    How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed In A Child

    The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she will ask about recent tick bites. He or she will give your child a physical exam.

    Lyme is usually not hard to diagnose. OBut other conditions may cause similar symptoms. The main symptom is often a rash, but more than 1 in 5 people infected with Lyme dont have the rash. In the earliest stage, diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and a history of a tick bite. In later stages, blood testing is very important to make a diagnosis of Lyme disease.

    Key Points About Lyme Disease In Children

    Warnings about Pediatric Lyme Disease in WNY
    • Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria. The bacteria are usually spread by tick bites.
    • Lyme disease is a year-round problem, but it peaks during the spring and summer months.
    • Ticks live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. A child is more at risk outdoors in these places, or around a pet who has been in these areas.
    • One of the most common symptoms is a ring-shaped rash that looks like a bulls-eye. It may be pink in the center and have a darker red ring around it. The rash does not occur in every case of Lyme.
    • Lyme is usually not hard for a healthcare provider to diagnose. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and a history of a tick bite. Your child may have blood tests to help diagnose Lyme.
    • Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotic medicine. Early stage Lyme disease is more easily cured with antibiotics than late-stage disease. Repeated courses of antibiotics for post-Lyme disease syndrome don’t help.
    • There is no vaccine for Lyme disease. But you can help prevent Lyme disease by protecting your child from tick bites.

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    How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed In Children

    The following steps can help diagnose Lyme disease .

  • Healthcare providers may perform physical examinations to check the symptoms of Lyme disease. They may also inquire about the history of exposure to ticks.
  • If children do not have any rash on their bodies but show other Lyme disease symptoms, blood tests may be advised to find if the body is producing antibodies against the bacteria. These blood tests are helpful when done two to six weeks after the tick bite because by then, the immune system gets enough time to react with the bacteria.
  • Other tests may be performed if the disease has spread beyond the skin.
    • Electrocardiography
    • Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and lumbar puncture

    Stage : Early Localized Disease

    Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 1 to 2 weeks after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.

    The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but it isnt painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.

    The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans. Erythema migrans is said to be characteristic of Lyme disease. However, many people dont have this symptom.

    Some people have a rash thats solid red, while people with dark complexions may have a rash that resembles a bruise.

    The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.

    Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:

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