What can be done to prevent Lyme disease?
1. WEAR INSECT REPELLENT. Use a repellent with DEET - DEET is the most effective way to prevent tick bites. Avoid products with greater than 30% DEET and be sure to bathe your child at the end of the day if wearing DEET. If possible dress your child in long pants & long sleeve shirts. Tucking long pants into socks can also be helpful.
2. PERFORM DAILY TICK CHECKS. Check your child for ticks every night, even if they have just been playing outside in the yard. Make sure to check under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, back of knees, in and around all head and body hair, between the legs and around the waist.
3. REMOVE ATTACHED TICKS QUICKLY AND CORRECTLY. Remove attached tick using fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you notice tick. Using the tweezers grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. A tiny black speck may be remaining after tick is pulled off, this is OK – leave it alone and let the skin heal.
Fortunately, most children DO NOT need blood work or antibiotics after a tick bite.
When do you need to call us?
BE ALERT FOR FEVER, RASH OR MALAISE. Some people get a small bump or redness at the site of a tick bite that goes away in 1-2 days. This is NOT a sign of Lyme disease. Symptoms to monitor for include, fever, rash, headache, fatigue, muscle or joint aches & malaise. The skin rash may resemble a “bulls eye” around the tick bite or anywhere else on body and is usually 1-2 weeks after the tick bite.
The diagnosis of Lyme disease & other tick born illnesses are made clinically and treated based on symptoms & physical exam findings. If the tick has been attached for < 48 hours and not engorged, the chances of having Lyme disease are very unlikely.
Testing your child?
Lyme disease testing in the absence of symptoms is NOT routinely done. Like blood tests for many other infectious diseases, the test for Lyme disease measures antibodies in response to infection. It can take several weeks after the infection for the body to produce sufficient antibodies to be detected. Therefore, during the first 4 weeks of infection, blood tests are not accurate and not recommended.