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As summer approaches, health officials expect Lyme disease will trigger more tick-borne illnesses. Parents, are you prepared for this? Do you know what to do to protect your children?
Lyme disease awareness is at an all-time high as cases of infection surge, according to NPR. It's imperative, therefore, for parents to take the necessary steps in Lyme disease prevention so that their children won't be vulnerable.
Lyme disease transmits through tick bites, which aren't easily detected. Some bites, however, don't instantly cause Lyme disease, according to Kids Health. Parents have to watch out for symptoms like a headache, fever, aching muscles and circular red rashes that appear like bulls-eye. If children complain of these conditions, schedule a visit to the doctor as soon as possible.
Parents have to be aware the symptoms can disappear but it's still important to get a proper diagnosis, especially since not everyone presents rashes. When left untreated, Lyme disease can cause arthritis, heart problems, facial paralysis or meningitis. So, the sooner the treatment, the better the chance of a full recovery.
At home or on favorite hangouts, parents have to watch out for vulnerable areas where ticks can thrive like gardens, backyards and campgrounds. If possible, have children wear protective clothing or apply insect repellent, especially if they plan to enjoy these outdoor sites regularly, as per CDC.
Parents have to do thorough tick checks of their children daily, especially if they played outside. Go over belly buttons, hair, underarms and the back of the ears for any marks. Carefully check clothes before washing these as well.
If the parents find ticks, carefully pull this out with tweezers and contain this in a sealed case. "If you remove it within 24 hours, it's highly unlikely the child will get Lyme disease," Dr. Joan Robinson of the Canadian Pediatric Society's Infectious Disease and Immunization Committee said, as per Today's Parent. Treat the tick bites with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol and then have a doctor do an examination.
If positive for Lyme disease, treatment will come in a form of antibiotics as there are no vaccines for this illness. Depending on a body's ability to recover, a child can return to good health from two to four weeks.