How Do I Watch for Lyme Disease After Removing a Tick?
I found a tick on my daughter's arm last night. I pulled it off, but I have
no idea how long it had been there, as she plays outside every day. What should
I do? How do I tell if the tick gave her Lyme disease? – Mara
Lyme disease is caused by the
bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted primarily by deer ticks. In
the United States, Lyme disease is most common in the Northeast, Northwest, and
parts of the upper Midwest. So where you live (or travel) and what type of tick you
find will help determine if your child is at risk of developing Lyme disease.
Not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. And
a tick that is infected has to be attached to a person's skin for at least 24-48
hours before it can transmit that bacteria. Since you don't know how long the
tick was attached, watch for signs that your daughter might be developing the
Many kids who have Lyme disease develop a red rash at the site of the tick bite,
which sometimes has a characteristic "bull's-eye" appearance. In the week or two after
the tick bite, look for an expanding ring of solid redness or a red bump surrounded
by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. The rash may be accompanied
by flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle and joint aches.
If she has a bull's-eye rash or other symptoms that can happen in Lyme disease,
call your doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease can prevent
serious illness and long-term complications. When diagnosed quickly and given a course
of antibiotics, kids with Lyme disease almost always have a good outcome.
Parents can help prevent kids from being exposed to ticks by making sure they wear
protective clothing and apply insect repellant containing DEET, especially when playing
in grassy or wooded areas where ticks live. Check
kids for ticks every day.