This post was sponsored by Floating Hospital for Children as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
When you become a parent your whole life changes. You start noticing more stories on the news and hearing about illnesses you never noticed before. You start thinking about the “what if’s” and what would I do if something horrible ever happened to my child.
Living in the Boston area I know I am lucky as a parent because we have some of the best medical care available in the world, including The Floating Hospital for Children. The Floating Hospital is the full-service children’s hospital of Tufts Medical Center. The Floating Hospital is located in the heart of Boston’s downtown with 6 partnerships throughout the community. They treat patients with varying medical conditions and provide inpatient and outpatient services in every specialty, including general pediatric care to more complex cases like cancers, heart disease, and trauma.
The Floating Hospital for Children is known for providing patient care in a smaller, more intimate setting. This allows patients and their families to feel more comfortable during hard times. At the Floating Hospital they pride themselves on their patient care and everyday their patients prove that you don’t have to be big to be strong. I love this message and the empowerment and pride it must bring to the patients and families alike!
One thing that the Floating Hospital brought to light and that’s been on my mind this summer is the rise of the tick population in the Northeast. Having grown up in the Boston area with the woods for a backyard, nightly tick checks were something we just did. Come inside from playing and you heard, “did you check yourself for ticks,” but I never quite understood the importance until just recently.
Lyme disease is a tick born disease that is transmitted to humans by a simple bite of the skin. The initial symptoms are hard to diagnose and present as a fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, and sometimes a rash. When left undiagnosed, which happens far too often because the symptoms fall into line with so many other illnesses, the infection can then spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system. It’s frightening to think about how often cases go undiagnosed and for how long but lately, its all I’ve been hearing about!
As a dental hygienist I hear stories from my patients every day. In one week alone I heard three stories of young girls all diagnosed with Lyme Disease that is causing so much detriment in their lives. These three girls ages 3, 5, and 16 have been home bound for months and even years, unable to attend school, go to birthday parties, or fully enjoy their childhood because of a disease they got from a simple tick bite.
All three are in pain, constantly exhausted, and in some cases experiencing mental health issues as well. Luckily these girls have the best care available to them living in the Northeast but it doesn’t make the situation any easier which is why I’m being so vigilant when it comes to checking our son for ticks.
So what can you do to prevent and treat tick bites this summer? Here are some tips from expert Lynne Karlson, MD, Chief of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center:
Tips For Keeping Kids Safe From Ticks
- Use an insect repellent containing deet. Now, I tend to be a little earthy crunch, prefering an all-natural repellent for my son but in this case I’m all about the chemicals! Many all-natural brands do not contain deet and will not repel ticks as well.
- Tuck your pant legs into your socks and never wear sandals when in the woods.
- Check your child every night for ticks, whether you spent time in the woods or just the back yard. Don’t forget to check the scalp, between fingers and toes, even butt cheeks! In order for a tick to pass on Lyme disease it must be on the body for more then 24 hours.
- Use a gloved hand to remove a tick if one is found. Be sure to pull it straight out and wash the bite immediately with soap and water.
- Invest in a pair of tick tweezers if you live in an area that is wooded or you spend a lot of time outdoors.
- Remember to check pets for ticks as they tend to bring home their little “friends.”
- For more information on keeping your kids healthy and strong, visit www.floatinghospital.org.