Lyme Disease Pediatric Care Plan

By David Shafran, MD
Medically reviewed
December 9, 2020

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an illness caused by a bacteria called Borellia burgdorferi. The disease, most common in the northeast, northcentral and west coast of the United States, is spread to humans by a tick carrying this bacteria. Outdoor activities such as hiking and camping increase potential exposure to infected ticks.

Usually 7-14 days after a tick bite occurs, infected patients develop a characteristic rash that looks like a bullseye. While the rash may be the only sign of infection, other potential symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes, usually in the neck or groin
  • Achy muscles and joints

If untreated, complications of lyme disease can occur months to years after the initial tick bite and can  affect the heart, joints, and the brain. 

How is Lyme Disease Treated?

Both early and late stages of the disease are treated with antibiotics. Usually these can be administered by mouth but can be given through as IV as well. If caught early and treated, symptoms usually completely resolve and you don’t need to worry about later complications.

You can prevent lyme disease by:

  • Avoiding places ticks live especially shaded moist areas
  • Wear a hat, long sleeves, and pants
  • Wear closed shoes
  • Use bug sprays- if it contains DEET make sure no more than 30% and wash off with soap and water
  • Check your body for ticks after hiking/camping

How to Remove a Tick

  • Use a fine tweezers
  • Grab the tick as close to skin as possible. Don’t squeeze!
  • Carefully, pull the tick directly away from the skin
  • Wash the area with rubbing alcohol

Check in with K if…

  • You have general questions about your child’s condition
  • You want general followup for your child
  • You have questions about supportive care
  • Your child’s symptoms don’t go away after treatment but are not alarming

See a doctor in person if…

  • Your child’s fever persists 48-72 hours after starting antibiotics
  • Your child develops a severe headache or neck pain
  • Your child develops joint point 
  • Your child isn’t acting like themselves
  • Your child develops a one-sided facial droop
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

David Shafran, MD

Dr. Shafran is a board-certified pediatrics physician. He joins K Health from the Cleveland Clinic, where he led a pediatrics practice and completed a fellowship in transplant ethics. He has completed multiple fellowships, including one in pediatric nephrology at Rainbow, Babies & Children's University Hospitals. He received his medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv and completed his medical residency at the Jacobi Medical Center.