Lyme Disease/MRSA: Prevention Is Key to Protecting Children
Nov 21, 2012 - 12:10:25 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - The thought of your child contracting Lyme disease or any serious infections disease can be terrifying. The nefarious little tick can wreak havoc, and several weeks can pass before it can be confirmed by blood tests. According to Nina Arlievsky, MD, attending physician in pediatric infectious diseases at CWPW and an expert in Lyme disease, it took time for doctors to recognize, identify and develop lab tests to detect the disease. “But now,” she says, “there have been numerous studies and excellent progress with Lyme disease — as long as it is diagnosed and treated correctly.”
Prevalent in suburban areas and any wooded or grassy region populated by wild animals throughout the Northeast, ticks attach to a host and deposit the infection after burrowing their head in a host. Dr. Arlievsky says that if a classic bulls-eye rash appears, it is “certain confirmation” that the child has been bitten by a tick and has Lyme disease. Symptoms range from swollen joints, rash and fatigue to body aches — not unlike flu symptoms. “The proper thing to do is to consult a physician to rule out other issues, such as general fatigue,” she explains. “Once treated symptoms will improve over a week or two.” Parents can help afflicted children by providing supportive care and administer pain relievers for joint pain, or an anti-inflammatory medication, but only on the advice of a physician.
Prevention is key, she stresses, which means wearing long sleeves and long pants in all weather, and checking often for ticks. Treatments include Amoxicillin, doxycycline, and cefuroxime.
MRSA, which stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a well-known bacterium that causes a range of infections, and in a range of ages, Dr. Arlievsky reports. “It usually presents itself with puss-producing infections such as boils,” she says. Some strains are resistant to anti-staphylococcal antibiotics, giving rise to its distinction as a “super bug.” A person has about a 30-percent chance of becoming colonized with Staphylococcus aureus.
Some people are more susceptible than others to contracting the infection. Toddlers particularly are prime targets, Dr. Arlievsky says, thanks to wet diapers and their propensity for exploring everything in sight. Teens can also be susceptible, she adds, as this group can tend to forego hygiene for periods of time.
MRSA used to be predominant in hospitals. “Now it’s more community-acquired,” Dr. Arlievsky says, “meaning that it’s prevalent among the general population. Anyone can get it. It can be treated with antibiotics, orally or topically topically. The key to treating boils is warm soaks to help them to drain.” Patients can also have a fever and spreading redness.
“Prevent MRSA with good hygiene,” Dr. Arlievsky notes, “which means frequent hand-washing, and use of alcohol-based hand-sanitizers. This is a very good way to inhibit the spread of bacteria.” New antibiotics are available that are very effective in the treatment of MRSA, she adds.
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