Protect Your Kids From Lyme Disease and Other Tick Borne Illnesses: Commit to Frequent, Thorough Tick Checks
Lyme Disease is particularly scary to parents of children of all ages. I used to want to shave my grass down to the bare dirt or pave my yard to protect my young girls from crawling ticks. The thought of them suffering from the horrible Lyme Disease side effects terrified me. I tutor children who are homebound due to illness. I have now tutored a handful of students who have either had to attend half days or were out of school for months with Lyme Disease. It is heartbreaking seeing the cognitive impairment and fatigue Lyme causes. According to a Columbia University study, 25% of Lyme cases are in children 12 and under.The study also found a very disturbing statistic which is that 41% of children with Lyme had suicidal thoughts and 11% made a “suicide gesture.” That is horrible. Everyone should see Lyme Disease prevention as an essential safety precaution.
But what are parents supposed to do, not let their kids go outside on anything but pavement? You can't apply anti-tick chemicals to your child. Some people spray their yards but many are wary of what harm those chemicals may bring their children, wildlife and the environment. Warnings on labels even state that the tick sprays are lethal to certain types of wildlife. This makes me wonder if exposure may be harmful to children long term. And sprays only cut down on ticks; they don`t eliminate them.
Early detection of Lyme Disease symptoms is crucial to minimizing its severity, but identifying whether a child has Lyme is not so straight forward. The early side effects mimic a typical cold/fever and fatigue. People aren't going to bring their child in to the doctor every time he or she has minor cold symptoms. And the test for Lyme is not 100% accurate-it doesn't always show up. Additionally, not everyone exhibits these symptoms or the classic bull’s-eye rash. The Columbia University study found that only 50% of the time did a Lyme sufferer report seeing a rash.
The best way to prevent Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses is to not get bit in the first place. On way to achieve this is by doing frequent tick checks after spending any time outside, checking everyone including dogs. Ticks can hitchhike in on pets find their way on to children when they play with or hug the pet. Or they can drop off your dog onto your couch or bed. Yuck! We used to find live ticks in our bed before we got serious about tick checks.
Of course, thorough tick checks are a challenge due to ticks’- especially nymphs’- small size. Nymph deer ticks are the size of a sharpened pencil tip. Unfortunately it only takes one missed tick to let Lyme Disease take hold. To help you so that you are not just relying on your eyes, we suggest our Tick Catcher. It is quick, easy and chemical free. And because the envelope can hang on your doorknob or sliding door handle, it will conveniently remind you every time someone comes in from the yard to tick check them! For more information on the Tick Catcher go to http://tickcatcher.com/tick-catcher/