As you know, we spend a significant amount of time outdoors. And the ticks are just terrible this year. After our last campout, I removed ten ticks between the five of us. It was nine days later when I saw Pierce scrambling up a ladder at the playground that I noticed a red rash on the back of his leg. A quite circular red rash. A rash that looked an awful lot like a bullseye.
We were on the playground at the zoo at the time, in the middle of Pierce's school field trip. I'd been chaperoning Pierce and a classmate for the day, and exhaustion was starting to set in. As I examined the odd rash, I confess that my first thought was an internal groan over having to rush off to the pediatrician's office after such a busy day, when all I wanted to do was sink into the couch and pretend for 30 minutes that there wasn't dinner to cook and sippys to fill and lunches to pack. Instead, I consulted two other moms on the playground, both of whom agreed that I should get it looked at. Then I called the pediatrician's office and was able to work us into the last appointment of the day.
They were running behind, so we weren't even seen until after the office had closed for the day. But it was worth the wait. The pediatrician studied the rash at length. It was ambiguous - definitely not your textbook case. However, there was a defined arc on half of it, and the doctor felt that he could see a faint arc around the other side. This bullseye is the hallmark of lyme disease. The picture doesn't quite do it justice, but you can see the inflammed red area in the center, and the less defined arc around the edges.
Now far be it for me to want to expose my 5 year old to a lengthy course of antibiotics. Obviously, I don't want to add to the issue of antibiotic resistance. However, I also don't want to risk my son facing the long term damage that lyme disease causes. In the end, I had no difficulty in making the decision to treat him. Pierce will be on amoxicillan 3x a day for 20 days. We came home with this:
Bug Bandit which doesn't contain Deet or other harmful chemicals. I dug it out and I admit that the smell is not unpleasant and I feel like this is something I could use on a daily basis without feeling guilt - it's nontoxic and natural. I don't know how well it works for repelling ticks yet, but we're going to put it to the test! (On a side note, Fairy Tales doesn't know I'm talking about their product - I'm not mentioning it for PR purposes but because I like it and thought you all might be looking for similar products for your kids).
For now, we will make sure the antibiotic is working well, which it should be assuming the rash doesn't spread at all (and it hasn't - it has receeded with treatment). I will also keep a sharp eye on the twins (who also had ticks removed) for any signs of a rash. I feel fortunate to have been in a place to notice the rash on Pierce when I did. Lyme disease includes troubling symptoms - including severe joint pain, heart issues, and neurological problems. It's not something anyone would want their child to face.