Lyme Disease - HealthyChildren.org

Lyme disease is a major public health problem in some regions of the United States. Since its discovery in Lyme, Connecticut, USA. In 1975, thousands of cases of this disease have been reported in the United States and around the world. To learn more about the disease and how to prevent it, it will help you to protect your family from the effects of Lyme disease.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacterium called a spirochete. The disease is transmitted to humans through the bites of deer ticks that are infected with this bacterium. Deer ticks are tiny creatures of color between black and brown. They live in forests or areas of grasslands, groves and swamps near rivers, lakes or seas. Many people who have been infected with Lyme disease were bitten by deer ticks while camping or hiking, during other outdoor activities or even while in their own yards. This occurs from late spring to early fall.

Where is Lyme disease most common?

Deer ticks that are infected with Lyme disease live in regions that have extreme temperatures (very low and very high) and high levels of humidity. In the United States, almost all cases of Lyme disease occur in the following regions:

  • Northeast (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
  • North Central States How will I know if my child has Lyme disease?

    A rash can occur without any other symptoms or may include:

    • Headache
    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Swollen lymph nodes, usually in the neck or groin
    • Pain in muscles or joints

If your child develops a rash with or without any of these symptoms, call your pediatrician.

How severe is Lyme disease?

In most cases, Lyme disease can be easily detected and treated. If it is not treated, it can get worse. Occasionally, patients may develop an infection of the nervous system (meningitis) or facial muscle problems (facial nerve palsy). Symptoms of the late stage of the disease, occurring 1 or more months after the tick bite, are swelling of one or more joints.

How is Lyme disease treated?

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics (usually penicillin, a cephalosporin or tetracycline) prescribed by your pediatrician. Antibiotics are usually taken orally, but in the most severe cases they can also be given intravenously (directly into the bloodstream through a vein). Both the initial and late stages of the disease can be treated with antibiotics.

How can I prevent Lyme disease?

Please note that, depending on where you live, ticks can even be found in the yard of your own home. Keeping your garden leafless, weeds and tall grasses can reduce the number of ticks. Ask a licensed pest control professional what other steps you can take to reduce the number of ticks in your yard.

Ticks and how to remove them

Ticks do not they fly, or jump, or fall from the trees. They hide in grasslands and in small trees, shrubs or bushes waiting for an animal or a person to rub them. Then they adhere to the skin of the animal or the person. When you find a tick in a person or in a pet, try to remove most of the insect by following these steps:

Grip the tick as close to the skin as possible with tweezers of fine point. Be careful not to squeeze the tick body. Remove the tick slowly from the skin When the tick leaves, clean the bite area with alcohol or a first-aid ointment.

The information contained on this website should not be used as a substitute for advice and medical care of your pediatrician. There may be many variations in treatment that your pediatrician could recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

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