Lyme disease was discovered in Old Lyme, Connecticut, in 1974. Since then it has become big news. About 12,000 cases are reported each year in our country. It’s the most frequent disease spread by a tick bite. Here are some facts for your consideration:
- First: It’s not carried by the usual ticks, only by little deer ticks which are the size of a pinhead or poppy seed.
- Second: In most states only 2% of deer ticks carry it. But in the New England states, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, up to 50% of deer ticks are infected. But even in these high-risk areas, only 1% of children bitten by a deer tick develop Lyme disease. The infection rate goes up if the tick remains attached for more than 48 hours.
- Third: Within 1 to 3 weeks of the bite, infected people develop a unique rash where they are bitten. The rash consists of a large red ring or bull’s eye that expands in size. At this stage, it’s easily treatable with an antibiotic. So watch for the rash.
- Fourth: The best approach is to prevent it. Apply insect repellent to shoes and socks. You also need to perform tick checks every 3 to 4 hours because the tick bites are painless, and early removal decreases the likelihood of passing on this infection. In the meantime, don’t panic. Complications are rare. Don't give up hiking and camping because of this pest.
If you have other questions about Lyme disease, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 9/1/2001
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.