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Attention parents: Know the dangers of children playing in leaf piles

With the leaf piles lining the streets in Lakewood, parents should remind their children about the dangers of playing in the piles – especially during the evening hours.

In addition to the dangers of vehicles, there is also the dangers of leaves infested with bugs and more.

This letter was submitted to TLS last Fall season:

Dear TLS. Thanks for keeping us up to date with the fall leaf pickup schedule. I’m writing because with the leaf season upon us, it’s really important for parents to warn kids to AVOID PLAYING IN THE LEAVES.

Many of us think you only need to be vigilant in the summer when kids are out and playing and maybe wearing shorts or short sleeves. But a kid joyously diving into a leaf mound can pick up a tick that remains on their clothes, eventually finding its way to their skin, or scalp where Lyme’s transmission can occur. As someone whose family has been severely effected by Lyme’s disease I would never want to see this happen to anyone.

It’s important to know that tick bites, even those that lead to Lyme contraction, are not always accompanied by the large identifiable “ring rash” we are familiar with (see image). The bite can go unnoticed, and Lyme’s can go undiagnosed for longer periods of time leading to a more severe health issues.

Apart from this vigilance, it is important to know how to remove a tick. By simply pulling it, you may actually cause additional immediate pain, infection and subsequent pain as well.

One of the best ways to remove a tick if found on the skin is to twist it in a circle while pulling it backwards. The ticks “stinger” has barbed hooks that prevent it from being easily pulled directly backwards. But they don’t prevent it from being pulled to the side. By turning it and pulling at the same time you avoid pulling directly against the barbs that are holding the stinger in the skin.

There are many different special tweezer tools and other tick removal gadgets out there that are not expensive and worth having in the medicine cabinet. All of them operate on the same principle, that simply tugging a tick out is not the best way to remove it. You have to pull it in a way which does not go against the ticks own attack mechanisms.

In the words of one of our local physicians, Lyme’s is a quiet epidemic in Lakewood. Hopefully a little noise on the topic will help reduce the infestations.

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