Pediatric Alliance Advises about Tick Bites
Tick bites are becoming more common in this region, especially among children. The most common tick-borne illness in the United States is Lyme disease, which when left untreated, can be a source of severe health problems. Dr. Divna Djokic, a board-certified pediatrician with a specialty in infectious diseases at Pediatric Alliance – Bloomfield, provides information that can help parents prevent their children from transmitting Lyme disease from tick bites.
In order to prevent tick bites, Dr. Djokic suggests that parents and children use repellent and wear long clothing when outdoors, especially near wooded areas. However, if a child is bit, the best way to eliminate any health concerns is to remove the tick as early as possible. According to Dr. Djokic, time is one of the most important methods of Lyme disease prevention. If a tick has been on a child for 24-36 hours it is important to see your primary care physician. The longer a tick stays on a child’s body, the more likely they are to contract Lyme disease. During the summer, ticks in western Pennsylvania are larva and nymphs, meaning they are not fully grown and often hard to spot. They are prone to bite in areas on the scalp, armpit and foot making it even harder to see them. Dr. Djokic recommends that parents examine their children’s clothing after being outside and pay extra attention to these common tick bite areas. It is also very important to know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, which arise anywhere from three to thirty days after being bit.
These symptoms include joint pain and facial palsy, or drooping of the face. However, the most characteristic sign of Lyme disease is a circular rash, often having a bulls-eye appearance. The rash can grow, which may make it harder to see its circular nature, but according to Dr. Djokic, the rash may be spotted when standing farther away from your child as it could have spread. If any of these symptoms arise, it is important to see your doctor for treatment options. Dr. Djokic urges parents to be aware of Lyme disease’s warning signs in order to prevent other related health issues.
Pediatric Alliance wishes to provide all of their patients and families with information to ensure the safety of children, especially during the summer months. Knowing how to identify and prevent tick bites is just one measure that parents can take in ensuring the safety of their children.
Pediatric Alliance provides high quality, comprehensive primary and specialty care (asthma, allergy, immunology and endocrinology) to infants, children, and adolescents through clinical expertise, advocacy, education, collaboration, research, and information management. As the largest physician owned group pediatric practice in the Pittsburgh region, Pediatric Alliance offers 17 different office locations.