Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prevent Lyme disease!

Wear repellent

  • Use a repellent with 20% DEET
  • Also, clothing treated with permethrin kills ticks!

Check for ticks daily

  • Check for ticks on you and your children. Ticks like to hide in folds of skin and in the hair.
  • Check pets too!

Shower soon after being outdoors

  • Shower after being outdoors to remove ticks
  • Tumble clothes in a hot dryer to kill hidden ticks.

Call your doctor if you get a fever or rash

  • A Lyme disease rash may appear within 3-30 days, followed by fever, muscle and joint pain, or fatigue.

For more information:

Telephone: 800-CDC-INFO, (800-232-4636)
TTY: 888-232-6348
Email: cdcinfo@cdc.gov
Web: www.cdc.gov/Lyme

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Preventing Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned by lead.

The goal is to prevent lead exposure to children before they are harmed. There are many ways parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead. Lead hazards in a child’s environment must be identified and controlled or removed safely.

How are children exposed to lead?

Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of this paint that causes a problem. Approximately 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than 4 million of these dwellings are homes to one or more young children.

Who is at risk?

All children under the age of 6 years old are at risk because they are growing so rapidly and because they tend to put their hands or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths.

However, children living at or below the poverty line who live in older housing are at greatest risk. Additionally, children of some racial and ethnic groups and those living in older housing are disproportionately affected by lead.

What can be done to prevent exposure to lead?

It is important to determine the construction year of the house or the dwelling where your child may spend a large amount of time (e.g., grandparents or daycare). In housing built before 1978, assume that the paint has lead unless tests show otherwise.

  • Talk to your state or local health department about testing paint and dust from your home for lead.
  • Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
  • Pregnant women and children should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation. They should not participate in activities that disturb old paint or in cleaning up paint debris after work is completed.
  • Create barriers between living/play areas and lead sources. Until environmental clean-up is completed, parents should clean and isolate all sources of lead. They should close and lock doors to keep children away from chipping or peeling paint on walls. You can also apply temporary barriers such as contact paper or duct tape, to cover holes in walls or to block children’s access to other sources of lead.
  • Regularly wash children’s hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil. Both are known lead sources.
  • Regularly wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window components. Because household dust is a major source of lead, parents should wet-mop floors and wet-wipe horizontal surfaces every 2-3 weeks. Windowsills and wells can contain high levels of leaded dust. They should be kept clean. If feasible, windows should be shut to prevent abrasion of painted surfaces or opened from the top sash.
  • Prevent children from playing in bare soil; if possible, provide them with sandboxes.Parents should plant grass on areas of bare soil or cover the soil with grass seed, mulch, or wood chips, if possible. Until the bare soil is covered, parents should move play areas away from bare soil and away from the sides of the house. If using a sandbox, parents should also cover the box when not in use to prevent cats from using it as a litter box. That will help protect children from exposure to animal waste.
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FluView National Flu Activity Map

The FluView National Flu Activity Map is a complementary widget to the state-by-state flu map widget introduced in the 2007-2008 flu season. This interactive map allows users to see the most recent seasonal influenza activity map for the entire country as well as the activity levels from previous weeks in the current flu season.


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Accident Prevention – The Teenage Years

Most serious accidents during the teenage years involve the mixture of automobiles and alcohol and/or drugs (such as, Marijuana: pictured at right). Motorized all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles are also very dangerous. Suicide and unwanted pregnancies are major health problems in adolescence. Sexual activity can result in venereal disease (including AIDS). Open, honest lines of communication between parent and child during this time of transition are extremely important to help teenagers avoid disastrous life-style choices. Withdrawal changes in behavior and/or friends should never be ignored. These may be warning signs that your teenager is undergoing stress. Parental involvement in a teenager’s life can  be a gratifying and helpful experience both for the teenager and the parent. You should stay involved in your child’s life, especially during this time by keeping your communication lines wide open.

Teenagers who smoke become addicted faster than adults do and nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. Teenagers are more likely to smoke if friends, parents and older siblings smoke. Tobacco is the first substance used by those young people who use alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. Smoking will cause lower level of lung function, reduced rate of lung growth, heart disease, faster resting heart rate, increased risk of lung cancer, and stroke, and smokers live approximately 7 years less than nonsmokers do. Smokeless tobacco will cause gum disease, cancer of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and pancreas. Start educating children early about the risks and dangers of smoking before they are tempted to start. Starting smoking is easy; quitting smoking is extremely difficult at any age.

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The KidsDoc Symptom Checker is a graphical drawing of a child that allows you to hover over the portion of the body where your child is experiencing symptoms. You then […]

KidsDoc Symptom Checker

The KidsDoc Symptom Checker is a graphical drawing of a child that allows you to hover over the portion of the body where your child is experiencing symptoms. You then click on the section to display a list of symptoms and select the symptom from the list. There is also a complete A-Z list of symptoms.

[info]HealthyChildren.org – Symptom Checker.[/info]

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Spitting Up

A small amount of spitting up is common to most babies and should not be thought of as abnormal.  It usually resolves with the first few months of infancy.  If spitting up seems excessive, occurs with every feeding, or is more forceful, consult your child’s physician.  As long as he/she is growing and developing well, is not having choking episodes or turning blue, and is not excessively irritable, spitting up is more of a nuisance than it is dangerous.  However, if any of these conditions are present, there are medications that can sometimes benefit an infant with this condition.  Recurrent projectile vomiting (vomiting that shoots out of the mouth) is abnormal and requires a medical workup.

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Sleep Problems

Sleep problems, and in particular, frequent night time awakenings are an extremely common frustration for parents of young children. Part of the answer lies in knowing what to expect from your child at certain ages. newborn will average two awakenings a night, usually for a feeding and a diaper change. By 2 months of age, they are down to one arising or none at all, and by 4 months of age, a majority of infants sleep through the night. Acute illnesses, such as a bad cold or ear infection can temporarily upset your child’s sleeping pattern. A 5-6 month baby who is not consistently sleeping a full night, or an older infant who develops night-time awakenings, is considered to be a self-trained poor sleeper, and therefore is also capable of being trained to sleep all night independently.

Treatment

Unfortunately, the only method of any proven value in correcting poor sleepers involves allowing them to “cry it out” to some degree. Most young children who awaken in the night are simply hooked on a habit or association they require to get back to sleep (a bottle, rocking in your arms, etc.) and they are not too happy when those associations are broken. How do you do it? Put them in their crib awake; don’t rock them to sleep in your arms. If they cry at that time, or as they awaken and fuss later in the night, allow 10-15 minutes waiting periods before you step in. When you do go in, stay only for a moment and don’t get your baby out of the crib. The interval between each brief visit can be extended a little until your child drifts off to sleep. It will take an iron will and two to three nights for your infant’s bad habit to budge, but the method usually works and most parents feel it was well worth the effort.

If you’ve tried this technique without progress, or if there are other unusual features about your infant’s sleep patterns, be sure to bring up this issue at your child’s next preventative care visit. A helpful book on children’s sleep disorders is listed in the reference section.

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