Lyme Disease

What is Lyme disease?

As the weather turns warmer, many parents are concerned about keeping their kids safe from seasonal dangers, including sunburn, dehydration and swimming on a full stomach. Another addition to this list is tick bites, due to the rising public awareness — and number of reported cases — of Lyme disease in the U.S.

Lyme disease is caused by a bite from a certain kind of tick known as a “black-legged tick” that has been infected with a bacterium. These ticks are found in certain parts of the country (the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, the northern Midwest and the West Coast) and are often found on white-footed mice and white-tailed deer most commonly living in woods and high grass.

When discovered early, Lyme disease is easily treated with antibiotics. But left untreated, it can attack many systems of your child's body, including the skin, heart, nerves and joints.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the U.S. Your child can’t catch Lyme disease from a person — it’s only acquired from a black-legged tick — but it can be contracted again, even if it has been treated for before. It's is a year-round problem, although April through October is considered tick season, and 80 percent of Lyme disease cases occur in June and July. 

How we care for Lyme disease

The Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children's provides comprehensive care for children and adolescents with Lyme disease and other types of infections. Our services include consultation, evaluation, treatment and management of long-term conditions.