There’s a lot of buzz about Lyme disease lately. Maybe because it’s summer and we’re outside more, maybe because more and more celebrities are coming out with their own Lyme diagnosis, and maybe because it’s just plain scary. While we know where Lyme disease comes from, the symptoms are often less distinguishable, putting it even higher on the mommy radar worry scale.
Our expert, Dr. Marla Shapiro, is breaking down what moms need to know about Lyme disease in today’s post and we’re so glad to have some straight facts about it, once and for all.
Lyme disease facts: What moms need to know
According to the Center of Disease Control, in 2014, 96 percent of confirmed Lyme disease cases were reported from 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Lyme disease does not occur nationwide and is concentrated heavily in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Lyme disease does not occur nationwide and is concentrated heavily in the Northeast and upper Midwest.
Lyme disease is spread by infected ticks that then bite people. As a result, outdoor activities — hiking, camping, being outdoors in the woods or a grassy area — pose higher risks for contracting Lyme.
The best way to prevent the disease is to prevent a tick bite all together, so it is important to know if you are in an area where Lyme disease is prevalent. It’s best to avoid walking through deep bushes and important to use repellent with DEET on both your clothes and your skin. There are DEET formulations that are safe to use on children, always remembering to avoid their eyes and hands. Visit the CDC website for details on which repellents are best.
The CDC also points out that you should look for ticks on your body after being outside and remove any tick that you find using tweezers with a fine tip. It is reassuring to know that if a tick is attached to the skin for less than 24 hours, the chance of contracting Lyme disease is small.
Make sure you know the signs of a tick bite that may contain Lyme disease, which include fever and rash. Also, remember that pets can bring ticks into your house, so they too should be inspected regularly and wear tick collars for prevention.
For more information about Lyme disease, please visit the CDC website.
Dr. Marla Shapiro is a family doctor and a specialist in preventive medicine and community health. Don’t miss her tips on how to prevent your kids from getting the common skin condition, molluscum contagiosum.
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