Warmer weather is here, and kids are eager to play outdoors. Warmer temperatures mean ticks are leaving dormant stages and becoming active again. They live in brushy, unkempt areas like tall grassy spaces. Protecting your child from ticks is so important. Before going outside, make sure your child has protective clothing that serves as a barrier between the tick and your child’s skin.
Don’t be afraid to use sprays that deter ticks and other bugs from biting them. When they reenter the house, check them for ticks and have them shower. Check your pets too.
This may sound extreme, but the statistics of children with Lyme disease caused by a tick bite are alarming.
According to reports from the Center for Disease Control, there are around 75,000 new cases of Lyme disease among children each year. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 have the highest incidences.
As parents, you must understand Lyme disease symptoms in children so treatment is not delayed. The longer it is in your child’s system, the more severe the symptoms. Early treatment can prevent chronic Lyme disease from having a negative impact on all areas of your child’s life.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease refers to the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted into your child’s bloodstream via a tick bite. Specifically the black-legged tick or, more commonly called, the deer tick.
The bacteria, if left untreated, will multiply and spread throughout the body, causing many symptoms that lead to pain and discomfort.
Early Symptoms in Children
After a bite by the deer tick, a red rash may appear on your child’s skin. However, not all children will get a rash. Or, the rash may appear in a location on the body that is not viewed often. It’s important to pay attention to other symptoms and avoid relying solely on a rash.
Between several days and weeks after a suspected tick bite, headaches, muscle, and joint aches, swollen glands, changes in appetite, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms may appear.
Later Symptoms in Children
If left untreated or misdiagnosed by a doctor, symptoms can increase in severity. Also, you run the risk of developing meningitis, bell palsy, and other nervous system disorders. Other symptoms appearing months after the bite include heart rhythm issues, skin disorders, vision problems, and weakness.
Symptoms of Lyme disease will get worse over time. At times your child may feel fine and then have flare-ups that can feel debilitating. Memory, speech, concentration, mental health, numbness, and tingling can occur and have a negative impact on your child at home and school.
Impact at School, Home, and Play
Most traditional academic classrooms are set up for fully functioning children. Lyme disease can cause physical and mental impairments. The symptoms directly impact how a child can participate in their learning.
Taking tests, sitting for long periods at a desk, fatigue, and paying attention makes it hard for children with Lyme disease to be successful. If misdiagnosed with ADHD or ODD, your child faces even more challenges.
Children with Lyme disease find it hard to stay focused on completing homework or any tasks at home. They may not feel like hanging out with family or participating in family events due to headaches or pains in their body. They may also be extra sensitive to bright lights or loud noises. If so, they may prefer to isolate.
Their socialization skills are hindered by Lyme disease. Symptoms can vary. One day headaches may be unbearable, while the next day, they may feel muscle pains. Other children do not understand why their friend doesn’t feel well or refuses to play with them.
Most kids have energy all day long. A child with Lyme disease will become exhausted much faster. They are forced to stop participating in activities they love, making them feel like an outcast among peers.
For all these reasons, parents must get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.
Getting the Right Diagnosis
When you go to your doctor, request a Lyme test be performed. Even if you never saw a rash and your child only has a few mild symptoms, request a test.
Initial blood tests include the Western Blot Test or the ELISA Lyme disease test. If Lyme antibodies are active at the time of testing, your child’s test will come back positive. Please note, however, if the antibodies are not active at the time, the test will come back negative.
A negative test does not always mean your child does not have Lyme disease. It only means the antibodies were not active. Your doctor should prescribe a round of antibiotics as a precautionary measure based on your child’s symptoms.
There are not better tests available right now, but there is one way you can get an accurate diagnosis by visiting a Lyme-literate doctor, a physician with a specialty in the disease. A Lyme-literate specialist can also offer advanced, modern treatments that are safe and will ease the negative symptoms your child is experiencing.
Alternative Treatments for Lyme
Antibiotics do not eliminate Lyme disease from every child. In such cases, advanced treatments are needed. Only Lyme specialists offer such treatments, usually in their clinic and same-day procedures.
New treatments are safe and much more effective.
One example is the use of intravenous antibiotics. Instead of taking oral antibiotics, they are given to your child through an IV. This helps the antibiotics enter the bloodstream immediately, at the maximum dose, to better fight off the bacteria causing infection.
Like the Lyme specialists at Lyme Mexico Clinic, protocols used by experts include immunotherapy, removing toxins and heavy metals, detox therapy, and oxidative medicine. There are numerous treatment options. Working with the doctor, you will assist in developing the right plan for your child.
Your child can be free of Lyme disease and can start enjoying hanging out with family and friends and even attending school. If your child shows signs like the ones mentioned above, reach out to a Lyme-literate specialist right away.