Summer is a fun time of the year. Outdoor activities are popular hobbies for most people. However, there is a cause for concern this summer season: A higher risk for Lyme disease. According to health experts, there will be an uptick in Lyme disease cases this summer because more people are participating in outdoor activities in comparison to last year.
To be prepared, there are a few ways to help prevent Lyme disease, especially for children. Learn how to stay safe and healthy this summer.
But First, What’s Lyme Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected back-legged tick. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme fatigue, and a severe skin rash. If left untreated, the infection can spread to your heart, joints, and your body’s nervous system.
Where To Find Ticks
You probably don’t notice the ticks around you. Tick populations are higher in wooden and high grassy areas, stone walls, leaf piles, tree branches, overgrown shrubs, and bird feeders. Ticks are barely noticeable—as small as the head of a pin. Because they are hard to spot, this increases your chances of contracting Lyme disease.
How To Prevent Lyme Disease
Because they spend hours playing outdoors, children are at the highest risk of transmitting Lyme disease. To prevent the tick-borne illness, perform regular tick checks. Run a fine-toothed comb through a child’s hair to check for ticks. In addition, ticks can hide in body folds, so pay extra attention to the navel, groin, armpits, behind the ears, nape of neck, and scalp.
Dress children in light-colored clothing when they play outdoors. Ticks are either reddish-brown or black, so lighter clothing helps you spot ticks more easily.
When your child returns from outside, give them a bath to wash away ticks that might be on their body. In addition, put their clothes in a hot dryer for at least 15 minutes before washing to kill any lingering ticks.
If you notice a tick on your child, remove it immediately and clean the area with soap and water. For the next month, check your child for any skin rashes or other symptoms. If your child develops symptoms common to Lyme disease patients, contact your child’s primary doctor to begin treatment as soon as possible.