-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- When children head off to
outdoor camps this summer, they need to be protected from ticks and
tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, experts say.
Youngsters aged 5 to 14 have the highest incidence of Lyme
disease in the United States, according to the Tick-Borne Disease
Alliance (TBDA). Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks, which are
found in many types of settings at outdoor summer camps, including
woodlands, lawns and playing fields, tree stumps and picnic
"Deer ticks are cesspools of disease, and they put your children at risk of contracting Lyme disease and many other potentially debilitating diseases such as babesiosis, anaplasmosis, bartonella, tularemia and mycoplasma," Bob Oley, a public health consultant with the group, said in an alliance news release.
"These microscopic bugs pose an enormous threat to our children, who are especially vulnerable during the summer months. It is imperative to educate ourselves about tick-borne diseases, and take the necessary precautions to protect our children from them."
The TBDA outlined steps parents can take to protect their summer
camp-bound children from ticks and tick-borne diseases. Summer
camps should have a tick management program in place to protect
campers, and should also notify parents right away if an embedded
tick is found on their child, as immediate medical treatment may be
Make sure your child has tick repellant that contains an
Environmental Protection Agency-registered active ingredient.
Children should wear light-colored clothing that makes it easier to
spot ticks and all their outdoor clothes and shoes should be
sprayed with permethrin.
If your children attend a day camp, put their outdoor clothes in
a separate hamper in the mud room or garage. As soon as possible,
put these clothes in the clothes dryer on high heat for 20 to 30
minutes. The heat will kill any ticks that may be on the
Teach your children about areas they should avoid, the
tick-repellant clothes they should wear, how to properly use tick
repellant on exposed skin, and how to conduct body checks for ticks
after being outdoors and at night before they go to bed.
If your child is younger than 10, talk about tick prevention
with a camp counselor and make sure that those in charge of the
camp know about these precautions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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