Pennsylvania – Lyme Disease is on the rise for kids in Western Pennsylvania.
A study from Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh says that only five kids had confirmed cases of Lyme Disease in 2003, but that number had grown to 285 by 2013.
The infections continue to increase, and one doctor says she sees at least one new case of Lyme Disease each week.
The sooner you catch it, the easier Lyme Disease is to treat. Most patients can be cured with antibiotics, but if Lyme can result in chronic joint pain if it goes untreated for more than six months.
Check your kids for ticks each time they’ve been playing outside, paying special attention to any folds or creases that can act as a hiding spot, such as around the ears, armpits, belly button, or around the hairline.
If you remove a tick within 36 hours, the chance of contracting Lyme Disease decreases to almost nothing.
Some other tips for preventing tick bites… use an insecticide with DEET, wear long sleeves and long pants when in grassy or wooded areas, and shower after you come indoors.
How to remove a tick:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- 2. Pull upward with steady pressure. Don’t twist or jerk… this could cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If they are still under the skin, leave it alone and let the skin heal. Keep checking back for a red circle.
- Clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Never crush a tick between your fingers. Dispose of the tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or container, wrapping it tightly with tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
It might surprise you that ticks aren’t insects… they’re actually more closely related to mites, spiders, and scorpions. Ticks are usually small and a shade of brown, they may be difficult to spot on the skin, or even misidentified as a mole. Managing ticks in your yard depends on correctly identifying the pest as a tick.
Homeowners can help reduce the number of ticks near their home, by maintaining their lawn, and by clearing shrubbery, dead leaves, and grasses.
Dr. Mark Beavers from Orkin Pest Control gives some advice about the creepy, crawly creatures.
The CDC’s Dr. Christina Nelson lists some other steps that you should take, to protect yourself from diseases carried by ticks.
Learn which tickborne diseases are common in your area by visiting CDC.gov/ticks.
The best way to avoid tickborne diseases is to keep ticks from biting you. Avoid areas with high grass and leaf-litter. When hiking, walk in the center of trails.
You can use repellent that contains 20 percent or more of Deet, Picaridin, or IR3535 on your exposed skin. Follow the directions on the label to ensure safety for adults and children. Treat clothing and gear with products that contain Permethrin or shop for pretreated clothing.
Bathe or shower soon after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find crawling ticks before they bite.
Pay close attention to checking hair, in and around ears, underarms, and behind the knees.
Remove all attached ticks as soon as you find them.
If you’ve been bitten by a tick and develop fever, chills, aches, or a rash within a few weeks, see your healthcare provider.
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