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How do I prevent Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria transmitted by the deer tick. The tick bites a human in order to feed and transfers the bacteria to the unsuspecting host. Lyme is commonly diagnosed in the late spring to early fall, when people are spending time outdoors.

To prevent Lyme disease in your children, dress them in long-sleeved shirts and long pants while walking in the woods, and avoid grassy or bushy areas. Use an insect repellent containing (no more than 30 percent) DEET on exposed skin. After being outside, check the entire body daily for ticks, paying special attention to the scalp, armpits, and groin. Carefully remove ticks as soon as possible with fine-tipped tweezers, and wash the area with rubbing alcohol or first aid wash. Never try to burn a tick away from the skin. If the tick appears swollen or as if it has been there for more than a few hours, contact your pediatrician to discuss prophylactic treatment.

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, April 2019

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