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Spring is here…and so are the ticks and bug bites!

May 22, 2024

Hello NAP families,

We hope you have all been enjoying the warmer spring weather! We wanted to give a few quick reminders about some health issues to be aware of with the change of seasons.First, our old friend the tick has come out of hibernation. We have been getting many calls about tick bites already and anticipate many more to come! In general, the best defense against tick-borne diseases is preventing tick bites (light weight long sleeves and pants, hats, and deet-containing insect repellant when out in wooded or grassy areas) and daily tick checks to remove embedded ticks as quickly as possible. Remember, the longer a tick is embedded, the more likely it is to transmit diseases. Deer ticks are the main culprits in our area, fortunately dog ticks do not carry the same risk.

If your child has an embedded deer tick that is engorged (swollen), or likely to have been on them for > 36 hours, it is recommended that they take a single dose of doxycycline to help prevent possible Lyme disease. We do not routinely recommend sending ticks in for testing of diseases as the result of these tests will not change how we manage your child. Other symptoms of Lyme to watch for are the classic “bulls eye rash” that develops and expands days to weeks after a bite, typically near the area of the bite. (This is different than the area of redness from the bite itself, up to the size of a nickel, that can last 1-2 weeks and is not a sign of Lyme disease.) Children with Lyme may also develop flu like symptoms with prolonged fevers, headache, and body aches. Please call the office to schedule an appointment if you are concerned about potential Lyme symptoms. Remember, we are unable to diagnose and treat illnesses through the patient portal so scheduling an appointment will be the quickest way to have your concerns addressed.       

Seasonal allergies have also returned with a vengeance! This is always a confusing time for us in pediatrics trying to determine if a child’s runny nose is due to allergies or an illness. Typically, allergy symptoms are mainly in the head and neck – itchy/watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, headache – and not deep in the chest. Also, allergies do not cause a fever. This may be helpful in trying to tell the two apart. Good ways to limit the effect of allergies on your child is to wash their hands and face after playing outside to remove pollen, keeping windows shut at night so pollen doesn’t come into their room while they are sleeping, and using an antihistamine like Claritin or Zyrtec. For older children, you can also add Flonase nasal spray or Ketotifen eye drops. Please contact our office if you have any questions about how to best care for your child.

Happy spring, everyone!

Northampton Area Pediatrics