Summer Bummers

3. Nix Ticks
Your tot is outdoors—and so are bugs. Among those that are more than just an annoyance: ticks. Lyme disease is spread by the bite of infected deer ticks. Left untreated, the illness can affect the joints, skin, heart and nervous system.

Prevent it: Before your tot goes outdoors, especially in tall grass or woodsy areas, dress her in a hat, long sleeves and long pants tucked into socks, and tie back long hair.

If your child is more than two months old, you can apply insect repellant with picaridin or a less than 10 percent concentration of DEET to exposed skin; don’t put it on hands or near the mouth or eyes. As soon as you get inside, “check your toddler from head to toe, and particularly where the scalp meets the hairline,” says Guiot. Bathe her, and shampoo and comb her hair.

Treat it: If you find a tick, grasp it with tweezers and pull it straight out to avoid leaving the head embedded in the skin, which can cause infection. Wash the area with soap and warm water. Watch your child for symptoms of Lyme; fl u-like symptoms typically occur 7 to 14 days after the bite, and the onset of rash has been reported from 3 to 32 days after the bite.

See your pediatrician if… your child experiences headache, fatigue, joint pain after a tick bite or an expanding, bull’s-eye– shaped rash. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, which are most effective when taken early in the course of the illness.