Can I Prevent Tick Bites
You can protect your child from ticks by using an insect repellent that you spray on their skin and clothes. Your doctor can recommend a good spray. You can also encourage your child to wear tight-fitting clothing, including socks and a hat to keep ticks away from their skin.
Check your child for ticks whenever they have been playing outside. Pay special attention to their scalp, elbows, and knees, as well as the skin behind their ears and under their arms.
âBiomedical Journal of Scientific and Technical Research: Missed Diagnosis and the Development of Acute and Late Lyme Disease in Dark Skinned Populations of Appalachia.
âCenters for Disease Control and Prevention: Tick Bite: What to Do.
âCenters for Disease Control and Prevention: Tickborne Disease Surveillance Data Summary.
âCleveland Clinic: What to Do When a Tick Bites Your Child?
âHarvard Health Publishing: Tick Bites.
What Causes Lyme Disease In A Child
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that are spread to people by tick bites. The ticks that carry the bacteria are:
- Black-legged deer tick. These are found in the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, and North-Central U.S.
- Western black-legged tick. These are found on the West Coast of the U.S.
Not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria. Depending on the location, less than 1 in 100 to more than half of ticks in that area may be infected with Lyme.
Inspection And Tick Removal
Because recommendations for avoidance are not always practical, particularly for children and during the summer, daily close inspection for ticks should be performed each time one has been outdoors. Parents of children in endemic areas must be vigilant to check for ticksespecially the nymphs, because of their smaller size from the spring to the fall. Checking inside skin folds, behind ears, the umbilicus, groin, axilla, hairline, and scalp must be routine. If one tick is found, search thoroughly for others.
See the image below for a tick removal diagram and instructions.
While these instructions may represent the optimal method for removing the tick, it is more important to remove it promptly than to delay removing it while obtaining forceps or gloves.
A common misperception is that pressing a hot match to the tick or trying to smother it with petroleum jelly, gasoline, nail polish, or other noxious substances is beneficial. This only prolongs exposure time and may cause the tick to eject infectious organisms into the body. Finally, do not squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick because its fluids may contain infectious organisms.
Once the tick is removed, wash the bite area with soap and water or with an antiseptic to destroy any contaminating microorganisms. Additionally, the person who removed the tick should wash his or her hands. The removed tick should be submitted for species identification.
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What Are Possible Complications Of Lyme Disease In A Child
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
- 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.
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.”
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How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
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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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Your doctor is the person who can tell for sure if you have Lyme disease, but here are two common signs:
The rash may be big between the size of a quarter and 10 inches across. This rash spreads out over time and is called erythema migrans , or migrating red rash. Later, the rash also can appear somewhere else on your body, far from the tick bite.
It’s important to go to the doctor right away if you or your parent think you might have Lyme disease. Someone who waits too long or doesn’t realize he or she was bitten by a tick might start to feel even worse. In some cases, a person’s face muscles might stop working properly. That means the person wouldn’t be able to smile on that side or close that eye. This is called Bell’s palsy, or facial nerve paralysis . Other people might develop swelling or pain in their knee or another joint a few months after the tick bite.
Sometimes, people don’t have any signs that they are sick with Lyme disease.
How Prevalent Is Ld In Canada
Black-legged tick populations are well established in parts of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and may be expanding. Migratory birds can bring infected ticks into nonendemic areas, and people may also become infected while travelling to other endemic areas in North America and Europe. In 2009, LD became a nationally reportable disease. The number of reported cases has increased from 128 in 2009 to an estimated 500 in 2013.
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What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and theres not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease: The Em Rash
The most obvious sign of Lyme disease is a rash called an Erythema Migrans rash. This is a circular rash that develops around the site of the tick bite. It usually takes between three days and four weeks to appear, but it can take as long as three months before it develops. The rash is often described as a bulls-eye rash, as it often has a round centre with a circular outer rim, like the bulls-eye on a dartboard. However, not all EM rashes look like this. Some dont have a defined centre, or they may have a blister at the centre rather than an area of redness. Equally, they may appear blotchy rather than circular or oval, solid, or look like a bruise. EM rashes are often red, but they may also be blue or purple, and sometimes a yellow colour. Theyre not usually itchy, hot or painful, and they dont normally respond to antihistamines or anti-fungal creams. On some occasions, a person may have multiple rashes across the body, even if they were only bitten once. EM rashes grow outwards as they progress, and can end up as much as a metre wide. Its a good idea to draw around the outer edge with a biro each day, so you can see how much its growing.
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Stage : Small Oval Rashes Or A Reddish Lump
When a tick that causes Lyme disease bites you, it infects you with bacteria. Without treatment, the bacteria can spread to other areas of your body. Stage 2 begins when the bacteria spread to other parts of your body.
During this stage, you may see small, oval rashes on your skin. Some people develop a bluish-red lump.
Where you see these signs: Because the infection has spread, small rashes can appear anywhere on your skin, except for your palms and soles. Most rashes appear on the arms, legs, and face.
Some people develop a lump, which your doctor may refer to as borrelial lymphocytoma. In children, this lump tends to appear on an earlobe. Adults often see a raised growth form around a nipple.
Borrelial lymphocytoma on a childs ear
This can appear in stage 2 of Lyme disease.
What you may see on your skin: The rashes that appear during stage 2 differ from the rash that can appear in stage 1. In stage 2, the rashes stay the same size rather than grow larger.
When the rashes, lump, and symptoms begin: About 30 to 45 days after the tick bites you, you may notice rashes or a lump. These can also take longer to appear, sometimes six months or more.
Some people develop symptoms, which make them feel ill, including:
Shortness of breath and dizzy spells
Bells palsy, which causes one half of the face to droop
Heart problems, such as chest pains or an irregular heartbeat
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a multistage, multisystem bacterial infection caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. It is transmitted by the bite of blacklegged tick .
Blacklegged ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, making it extremely difficult to spot them on the body. Blacklegged ticks are very common in certain areas in the United States including:
- The northeast
- The mid-Atlantic states
- The north central states of Wisconsin and Minnesota
- Northern California
Lyme disease was first reported in the U.S. in 1977, in Old Lyme, CT, giving the disease its name. Blacklegged ticks are most often found in wooded and grassy areas, but can be transported by animals to other areas.
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What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. In the United States, this is usually a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It spreads to humans through the bite of an infected tick. The ticks that spread it are blacklegged ticks . They are usually found in the:
- Upper Midwest
- Pacific coast, especially northern California
These ticks can attach to any part your body. But they are often found in hard-to-see areas such as your groin, armpits, and scalp. Usually the tick must be attached to you for 36 to 48 hours or more to spread the bacterium to you.
What Can I Expect Long Term If My Child Has Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, most children will make a full recovery. Some children with Lyme disease go on to experience what’s called a post-infectious syndrome with symptoms that may include feeling fatigue, joint aches and pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating. Since the infection itself is gone by this time, doctors generally don’t prescribe antibiotics. Each child is different, but it’s not uncommon for symptoms of post-infectious syndrome to linger for months, or even years, and they can be made worse by stress or other illness. But most children do make a full recovery.
Blacklegged, or deer, ticks are very small, so it helps to know what to look for when doing a tick check. Adults are about the size of sesame seeds and in the nymph or larva stage, they can be as tiny as a poppy seeds.
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Medical Child Abuse: Rampant In Chronic Lyme Advocacy Groups
Signs of Medical Child Abuse can be seen in many chronic Lyme stories where one or more children in a family are diagnosed and treated inappropriately.
LymeScience has compiled a list of Red Flags of Chronic Lyme Quackery that may be helpful in determining if a child is a victim of Medical Child Abuse.
The biggest red flag is a child being treated by a pseudoscience practitioner, such as someone who advertises as Lyme literate, integrative, functional, alternative, complementary, Traditional Chinese Medicine, holistic, natural, chiropractic, homeopathic, and naturopathic.
In addition to a false Lyme diagnosis, children may receive false diagnoses of coinfections, including:
- unsubstantiated parasites
- chronic atypical babesia.
Chronic Lyme groups frequently scare mothers into believing they passed a chronic Lyme infection to their children. The children are then diagnosed with congenital chronic Lyme, which does not exist.
Chronic Lyme groups also scare families into thinking that harmless stretch markswhich often appear during teenage growth spurtsare evidence of a Bartonella infection. But Bartonella:
- has nothing to do with stretch marks,
- is not transmitted by ticks,
- is not a coinfection of Lyme disease, and
- in cat-scratch disease caused by Bartonella henselae, typically goes away on its own with no treatment.
In 2004, Dean A. Blumberg, MD, FAAP testified in Sacramento, California, where authentic Lyme disease is rare:
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Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs several weeks to months after the tick bite.
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell, and a rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
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What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection
There are three stages:
- Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
- Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
- Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.
About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.
Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.
Lyme Disease In Children Explained
Whether youre keen outward-bounders or are just trying to get your child off screens for a while, family walks are a staple of spring and summer weekends. When youre out exploring, though, its important to be aware of the possibility of tick bites, which in some cases, can lead to Lyme disease. This serious bacterial infection affects around 3,000 people in the UK every year, and is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the northern hemisphere.
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Stage : Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
Late disseminated Lyme disease occurs when the infection hasnt been treated in stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 can occur months or years after the tick bite.
This stage is characterized by:
- arthritis of one or more large joints
- brain disorders, such as encephalopathy, which can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mental fogginess, problems with following conversations and sleep disturbance
- numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet