[Skip to Content]

Evaluate Your Child's Lyme Disease Risk

In warm weather, the threat of Lyme disease might make you think that your kids would be safer in your living room than in the great outdoors.

Although the risk of getting Lyme disease from a tick bite is only about 1%–2%, it's important to know what can affect your family's Lyme disease risk.

Tick Bites Instruction Sheet

What Areas Are Most Affected?

Lyme disease is the leading tick-borne disease in the United States, with 20,000 to 30,000 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Pacific coast areas.

Lyme disease has been reported in other states (and even in Asia, Europe, and Canada), but those hardest hit are:

Most Lyme disease cases happen between April and October, particularly in June and July.

Outdoor Activities and Pets

Besides living in one of these areas, other things that might increase someone's risk include:

Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented?

Taking some precautions can help protect your family from Lyme disease — such as using insect repellent and wearing light-colored clothing when outdoors to make it easier to see a tick. And you should know how to remove a tick, just in case.Illustration

If you find a tick:

Note: Don't use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick — they won't get the tick off of skin and might make the insect burrow deeper and release more saliva (which increases the chances of disease transmission).

It's important to remove a tick as soon as possible. Usually, bacteria from a tick bite will enter the bloodstream only if the tick stays attached to the skin for 24–48 hours or longer.

Date reviewed: September 2015

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995- The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.

Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com