How to Protect Your Child From Lyme Disease

As the weather improves and your kids go outside to play, protecting them from Lyme disease is more important than ever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease annually. However, only approximately 30,000 cases are reported to the CDC.

Of those reported cases, approximately 37 percent are children, according to the Lyme Disease Association.

Lyme disease is an infection transmitted by ticks— the deer tick and the western black legged tick. While other ticks can carry Lyme bacteria, their bites have not been shown to transmit the disease.

“The vast majority of tick bites do not cause Lyme disease,” according to Dr. Benjamin Luft, the Edmund D. Pellegrino professor of medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine on Long Island.

When it’s found early, Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but if left undetected, it can cause a host of symptoms in kids that can affect their health, their behavior and their school performance.

Unfortunately, the disease is difficult to diagnose in children because they aren’t always able to explain their symptoms. Lyme disease affects the brain and can look like mononucleosis, migraines and the flu.