Pediatric Lyme Disease

Pediatric Lyme Disease

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Summary

Lyme disease is transmitted by a tick bite, and can cause long-lasting signs and symptoms.

Expanded overview

Lyme disease is spread by being bitten by a small, bloodsucking parasite — called a tick — that is carrying the disease. Bites can occur anywhere on the body, but most often occur in hard-to-see areas like the groin, armpit or scalp.

In most cases, the tick has to be attached to the body for 36 to 48 hours before the Lyme disease can reach the bloodstream. This is why it is important to check your child’s body thoroughly for ticks after being outside for any period of time during warm months of the year.

Causes

A child can become infected with Lyme disease if they are bitten by a tick that is infected with the disease. The disease is not spread from person-to-person.

Symptoms

Early signs and symptoms (3 to 30 days after tick bite)

  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Warm rash at the site of the tick bite that grows over time

Later signs and symptoms (one month or more after tick bite)

  • Arthritis
  • Dizziness
  • Facial palsy (droop on half or all of the face)
  • Heart palpitations (irregular heartbeat)
  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Inflammation of the spinal cord
  • Neck stiffness
  • Pain in the nerves
  • Pain that comes and goes in the tendons, muscles, joints and bones
  • Severe headaches
  • Severe joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Trouble with short-term memory
  • Warm rash that spreads throughout the body

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