Summer is Tick Time!
It’s time to be outside enjoying the warm weather and sunshine, but remember to protect your children with sunscreen (Paba Free) and insect repellent. While this is a fun time of year, it also comes with some risks.
Lyme Disease is spread when deer ticks infected with Borrelia Burgdorferi attach themselves to people and transmit the disease. The key to prevention is awareness. Be aware of high risk areas around your home such as leaf litter, wooded lawn edges and overgrown grass where ticks like to live. Use insect repellents containing less than 10% DEET when in high risk areas. Wear light colored clothing, hats and tuck pants into socks so that ticks are more easily noticeable. Perform daily tick checks and promptly remove any ticks that are found. It takes an attached infected tick at least 24-36 hours to transmit Lyme Disease, so daily body checks can greatly reduce the likelihood of disease transmission.
If you do spot a tick, remove it with tweezers. Grasp as close to the mouth parts as possible and use firm steady traction to pull away. Do not apply kerosene, gasoline or heat prior to removal. If a small part of the tick remains (like legs or the head), do not panic. A dead tick will not transmit Lyme Disease. You do not need to dig around and remove the tick parts. Your child’s body will expel the tick’s part on its own. Wash the area with soap and water.
Once the tick is removed, mark the date on the calendar. Tick bites do not need to be treated, but the child should be watched for any signs or symptoms of Lyme Disease.
A flat red circular or elliptical rash with some central clearing may signal the “bull’s eye” appearance of Lyme Disease. Other early signs of Lyme Disease (within about 4-6 weeks) include headaches, fever, fatigue, joint pain, neck pain, and facial drooping. Later signs of Lyme Disease may include painful swelling of joints, numbness or tingling of arms and legs, or memory loss. If any of these symptoms develop, contact our office for evaluation.
Lyme Disease is treatable but generally requires a 4 week course of antibiotics.