As you may know, Connecticut and most of the New England area is a 'hotspot' for lyme disease. Not all ticks carry lyme disease. Deer or Blacklegged ticks are the only species of tick that is known to carry lyme disease. In some parts of New England, up to 50% of adult deer ticks can carry lyme. Ticks tend to live in areas with tall grass or bushes. It is a good idea to check your child for ticks if they have spent a lot of time outside. Deer /Blacklegged ticks are small- about the size of a poppy seed or sesame seed. They can look like a freckle and are easy to miss. Ticks also have to be attached to a person for over 36 hours to transmit lyme disease, so even if a person does get bitten, the chances of contracting lyme are lower if the tick is removed promptly (hence the importance of checking for ticks frequently). If you find a tick on your child, don't panic! Remember that not all ticks carry lyme disease.
To remove a tick:
1. Use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible
2. Pull upwards. Do not twist or pull to the side- this can cause the mouth parts to remain in the skin. If this happens, carefully remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you can't remove the mouthparts, simply clean the area and let the skin heal.
3. Kill the tick by wrapping it in tape or flush it down the toilet.
If your child develops a bulls-eye like rash, call our office and make an appointment to be seen. Many people don't know that they have been bitten by a deer tick until the rash appears. Around 20-30% of people with lyme don't develop a rash. If you suspect that your child may have lyme based off of possible exposure and or symptoms, call the office and make an appointment.
Common lyme symptoms include:
Aches/pains- including headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain
Preventing Lyme Disease
Here are some useful tips to help minimize your child's chances to contracting lyme disease