In warm weather, the threat of Lyme disease might make you think that your kids would be safer in your living room than in the great outdoors.
Though a child's risk of getting Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick is only about 1%-3%, it's important to consider the factors that affect Lyme disease risk.
It's true that Lyme disease is the leading tick-borne disease in the United States, with 20,000 to 30,000 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year. Most cases of Lyme disease occur in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific coast areas of the United States.
Lyme disease incidence has been reported in other states (and even in Asia, Europe, and Canada), but those hardest hit are:
Most Lyme disease cases occur between April and October, particularly in June and July.
Besides living in one of these areas, other factors that might increase a child's tick risk include:
So your teen got a job as a landscaper this summer and you're planning a family camping trip — does that mean Lyme disease is in your family's future? No, but it does mean that you should take some precautions to protect your family — such as using insect repellent and wearing light-colored clothing when outdoors to make spotting ticks easier — and know how to remove a tick, just in case.
If you find a tick:
One note of caution: Don't use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick — they're not effective. These methods won't get the tick off your skin and might just cause the insect to burrow deeper and release more saliva (which increases the chances of disease transmission).
It's important to remove the tick as soon as possible. The longer the tick is attached, the greater the chance that Lyme disease will be transmitted. Usually, bacteria from a tick bite will enter the bloodstream only if the tick stays attached to the skin for 24-48 hours or longer. If the tick is removed within 1-2 days, it is less likely to have transmitted Lyme disease.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013
|U.S. National Library of Medicine The National Library of Medicine has health information and the latest medical news.|
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|American Lyme Disease Foundation This organization is dedicated to advancing the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and control of Lyme disease.|
|Tick Removal: A Step-by-Step Guide Boy, your child's freckles really stand out in the sun - but wait, that one isn't a freckle at all. It's a tick. What should you do?|
|How Can I Protect My Family From Ticks? Find out what the experts say.|
|How Do I Watch for Lyme Disease After Removing a Tick? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Lyme Disease The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Find out more about this disease and how to keep those ticks away.|
|Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a disease caused by a bacteria that is carried by certain types of ticks. Learn about the signs and symptoms of RMSF and tips for preventing infection in this article.|
|Lyme Disease Lyme disease can be treated if it's caught early. So read this to find out what causes it, how it's treated, and how to prevent it.|
|What's My Lyme Disease Risk? Is the thought of Lyme disease making you feel you'll be safer in the comfort of your room than the great outdoors? This article can help you assess your Lyme disease risk.|
|Bug Bites and Stings Generally, insect bites and stings are harmless. Find out how to keep pests from ruining your fun.|
|Woods and Camping Safety for the Whole Family A family camping trip can be an enjoyable experience with a little preparation.|
|Lyme Disease Lyme disease can affect the skin, joints, nervous system, and other organ systems. If diagnosed quickly and treated with antibiotics, Lyme disease in kids is almost always treatable.|
|Hey! A Tick Bit Me! A tick attaches itself to the skin of a person or animal and sucks blood. If you have a dog, it may have picked up a tick before! Learn more about ticks in this article for kids.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.