Where Lyme disease in children goes undetected it can spread to the central nervous system, heart, and joints, as well as other body systems and organs. The multitude of symptoms that may arise can make the infection difficult to recognize, thus delaying appropriate treatment. Late-stage Lyme disease symptoms in children may occur weeks or months, or even years after the initial infection. In some children treated for Lyme disease with antibiotics, parents may think that the infection has become chronic when symptoms reoccur, but oftentimes this is simply a case of re-infection as a child continues to run through grass, walk through the woods, and roll around on the lawn with the family dog.
Post-Treatment Lyme Disease in Children
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome does occur in children on occasion, especially where the infection was widespread before treatment commenced. Significant tissue damage and even an induced autoimmune reaction are possible consequences of Lyme disease, which could leave a child with persistent symptoms even when seronegative for Lyme bacteria. The most common long-term effect of Lyme disease in children is arthritis of one or more of the larger joints, such as the knees. Testing the synovial fluid of the joints may reveal the persistent presence of Lyme disease bacteria in which case more antibiotics are likely to be used to treat the infection.
Lyme Disease Treatment for Children
If a child has been bitten by a tick it is wise to contact the doctor in order to access immediate evaluation and treatment should it be necessary. Your physician may wish to carry out blood tests and even cerebrospinal fluid tests for Lyme disease bacteria. Children with signs of Lyme meningitis are likely to be kept in hospital and started on immediate parenteral antibiotics as a precautionary measure whilst serology results are returned. The rapid progression of meningitis can lead to paralysis, the need for limb amputation, and permanent neurological damage, coma, or even death in children not treated soon enough.