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How Changes In Lyme Disease Guidelines May Affect Kids In Bethesda, MD

Bethesda, MD has featured in many movies and TV shows, like The Bourne Legacy, The Simpsons, The X-files, and The Pacifier. Beyond being the setting for fictional stories, it also plays a major role in the health scene. After all, it houses the main campus of the National Institutes of Health and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. As a pest control company serving Bethesda, we follow suit in keeping our finger on the pulse of developments in the health sector, especially when it’s related to certain bugs we’re trained to eliminate.

For instance, did you know that there are updates coming soon in Lyme Disease treatment guidelines? A couple of months ago, comments on updates to the current guidelines involving, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the disease were closed.

tick control

Final recommendations haven’t been published yet, but information on some of the changes have been released via Contemporary Pediatrics online. But first of all, let’s recap – Lyme disease is an illness transmitted by ticks:

The infection process for Lyme disease is clinically complex, with a wide range for the latent period after exposure and before an infection presents. Symptoms of Lyme infection may include localized skin lesions at the site of the bite, neuropathy, meningitis, cardiac conduction problems, and arthritis. Manifestations can occur as early as a few days after a tick bite, to as late as several months after. Read more at Contemporary Pediatrics…

Cases of Lyme disease have been increasing over the years and can be difficult to diagnose thanks to its long incubation time, unreliable serum testing and vague symptoms. Treatments are available, however, and since the culprit is a bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, it holds that the cure is a course of antibiotic therapy. This brings us to a major change that pediatricians and parents should be aware of so they can decide whether or not to take this route.

One of the major changes in the proposed guidelines is the recommendation to use doxycycline in children younger than 8 years. Previously, doxycycline was not recommended for use in children over concerns about tooth enamel damage and discoloration. The new guidelines, however, dismiss this concern and note instead that doxycycline is effective against more than one tick-borne disease and can be given for children with broader manifestations. It is also the only oral option that is effective against Lyme meningitis outside of parenteral options, which carry additional risks. (Contemporary Pediatrics)

tick control

Tooth enamel damage and discoloration can cause both physical and psychological pain due to tooth sensitivity and cruel people making fun of one’s different-colored teeth. No wonder most health professionals avoid Doxycycline in kids. But weighing the risk and benefit because of its effectiveness against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses is important. We’ll see the outcome and more clinician opinions once the guidelines are released.

The article also points out that the famous Amoxicillin antibiotic is probably what will end up being used despite the guidelines. After all, it’s been around for decades and its safety in children is up there. While treatment options are many, the writers of the guidelines still hold to the fact that prevention is better than cure.

The safest bet is to prevent tick exposure and Lyme disease infection from the start. The proposal lists physical barriers such as protective clothing that is light in color to see ticks, special cleaning techniques when ticks are found on clothes, and treating pets. Repellants with N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), picaridin, 380 ethyl-3-(N-n-butyl-N-acetyl) aminopropionate (IR3535), oil of lemon eucalyptus, or permethrin 381 are strongly recommended, with the authors noting that there is no evidence to support the efficacy of botanical agents or essential oils in repelling ticks. (Contemporary Pediatrics)

So do whatever you can to keep ticks away from your children, pets and the rest of your family. Another tool against ticks and in turn tick-borne infections is treating your backyard with an anti-tick solution.

tick control

The crew at Backyard Bug Patrol has plenty of experience using organic treatments that are effective against ticks. Reach out to us today.