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Moms First: Lyme disease on the rise

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Summer is here and that means fun in the sun for your kids. It's also a time for parents to be on the look out for ticks.

Lyme disease has risen in recent decades across the country. Roughly 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Boys, ages 5 to 9, make up the greatest number of reported cases, which is why doctors are urging parents to be proactive.

"We are seeing some in our area Wisconsin and starting to come down to us," Dr. Lynnette Valentijn said.

Valentijn is a pediatrician at the South Bend Clinic and sees a rise in tick bites.

"If they're in the skin, the best way is to pinch right near the skin right near the head of the tick and pull it out slowly. It's not recommended anymore to burn them," Valentijn said.

The great outdoors comes with many perks and pests.

“You're supposed to have a shower and then check for ticks. It's recommended to check your dog and other pets so they can come in on pets,” Valentijn said.

Ticks can cause dangerous illnesses, like Lyme disease, but it's fully treatable as long as it's caught early on.

Lyme disease looks like a red ring, Valentijn said.

"It almost looks like ringworm, but it gets bigger and bigger and bigger that's called erythemamigrans,” Valentijn said.

Valentijn says parents should be proactive and prepared this summer.

“If you're going camping, for instance, it's best to coat your clothing for either DEET 20 percent or permethrin, which is a prescription. You can coat the tent. It's good if they're just playing around the yard,” Valentijn said.

Lyme disease causes a rash, often in a bull's-eye pattern, and flu-like symptoms.

So if your child experiences any joint pain and weakness in the limbs, fatigue or fever, get them to a doctor right away.

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