Evaluate Your Childs Lyme Disease Risk

Even though your child spends his or her time in your climate-controlled living room, he or she is still at risk of getting Lyme disease.

In 2005, there were more than 23,000 cases of Lyme disease reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To keep things in perspective, the risk of a child getting this tick-borne disease is very minimal – only about 1-3 percent. However, you should still consider other factors that may increase this risk.

Location

Most Lyme disease cases occur in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific coast areas. States that have been hit hardest by the disease are:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin

Lyme disease incidence has also been reported in other states, but those were fairly isolated cases.

Incidence of the disease has also been reported in Asia, Europe, and parts of Canada.

Most Lyme disease cases occur between April and October, especially in June and July.

Outdoor activities and pets

Apart from living in these states, the following factors may also increase your child’s Lyme disease risk:

  • Spending plenty of time outdoors in tall grass, brush, shrubs, or wooded areas
  • Having pets that have ticks
  • Joining activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting in tick-riddled areas

Safety measures

If you have a family trip to any of the hardest hit states, or if a family member has outdoor activity planned, you should take the necessary precautions.

  • Use an insect repellent
  • Wear light-colored clothes to make spotting ticks easier
  • Know to remove a tick

How to remove a tick

  • Remove the tick as soon as possible, since the longer it is attached, the bigger the chance that Lyme disease has been transmitted. Bacteria from the tick bite will enter the bloodstream only if the tick remains attached for 36-48 hours or longer. If the tick remained attached for 1-2 days, it’s likely that the disease had not been transmitted.
  • Use tweezers to take hold of the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to the skin.
  • Pull tightly and steadily on the tick until it lets go of the skin. Don’t worry if part of the tick remains in the skin, it will eventually come out. But if you notice any irritation in the area, or if you notice symptoms of Lyme disease, call your doctor.
  • Swab the bitten area with alcohol.

You may want to save the tick you removed for identification (as a Lyme disease carrier). You can put the tick in a container of alcohol to kill it. Petroleum jelly or a lit match stick won’t do.

Source: health.msn.com