11 Ways to Keep Kids Safe from Lyme Disease

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


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Every summer in Rhode Island brings a renewed threat of Lyme disease, the tick-borne disease that can be debilitating if not treated early and thoroughly. This summer, though, a warm and humid June prompted higher number of ticks, and vigilance is more necesssary than ever, particularly when it comes to children. Make sure you follow these tips from experts at Hasbro Children's Hospital.

Outdoor tips

Avoiding ticks is the best way to prevent Lyme disease. Ticks do not jump, fly or drop from trees. They grasp passing hosts on the lower legs from tips of grass or bushes. Follow these tips when outdoors:

  • Stay away from tick-infested areas such as woods and grasslands, especially in warm months. 

  • If you are in the woods, walk in the center of the trail and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into your socks. 

  • Wear light-colored clothing, boots or closed shoes and a hat.

  • Spray repellent containing permethrin on clothes.

  • Apply compounds with a maximum 30% DEET on exposed skin. Follow directions and take caution with these products. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend the use of DEET on children less than two months of age.

  • After being outdoors, wash all clothing. Then inspect your body carefully, particularly hairy areas. Ticks may feed anywhere on the body. Tick bites are usually painless - most people will not be aware that a tick is attached and feeding.

If you spot a tick, here's what to do:

  • Tug gently but firmly with thin-tipped tweezers near the "head" of the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.

  • Pull the tick straight upward with steady, even pressure.

  • Do not crush the tick's body or handle it with your bare hands.

  • Thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water

  • Do not use other methods of tick removal such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin

Checking for ticks and prompt removal of attached ticks is probably the most important and effective method of preventing infection.

The URI TickEncounter Resource Center offers a Shower Card that prompts kids to check themselves and shows them how. Check them out online, here, as well as learn more about prevention and detection.

For more Health coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.


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