my oh my how times have changed

Since Kathleen became ill I have had countless conversations with people where, like so many generations before us, we talked about “the good ol’ days.” During many of my conversations I have recalled the times when the kids of my generation would simply press on the raised rash that formed from mosquito bites with a fingernail to try and “make the itch go away.” For today’s children, however, it is an entirely different situation.


Kathleen was bitten by a tick while attending a well-known and rather upscale local summer camp, and the part that makes the situation totally and completely disconcerting for me is the fact that her counselor, a mature forty-something year old woman, took Kathleen and four or five other campers on a hike on a “secret” (i.e., restricted) trail.”






Not long ago Kathleen told me that a number of young boys wanted to go exploring on the trail but that they were forbidden from doing so because they had been told by other counselors that “there [were] bad things down there.” And, so, if the counselor who led my daughter on that ill fated hike had done her job, my family and I would have been spared a trip through hell.

For me, I have had to deal with the feelings of guilt; knowing that if had paid attention to Kathleen’s concerns and had her treated sooner then we would be in a much different place right now.



And, so, this is, without question, the most important advice that I can offer anyone reading this: Don’t get bitten, and don’t ignore the signs if, unfortunately, you are bitten!

Kathleen had a rash on her upper, right thigh and she (even at the tender, young age of eleven) knew that something was dreadfully wrong; but my wife told her that it was probably just a bad mosquito or spider bite, given that it was not shaped like a bullseye. BUT, not all tick bites lead to a bullseye shaped rash!

Knowing all that I know now, as soon as my wife uttered the word “Lyme” to me alarm bells should have gone off inside my head; however, she told me that, when she was a kid, she used to get bad rashes from mosquito and spider bites, and, so, I simply discounted the rash on Kathleen’s leg to genetics. Boy, was I wrong!

Even when Kathleen was formally diagnosed with Lyme disease, I did not get overly concerned because many years earlier, before she was born, we had a dog that was afflicted by Lyme disease, due to a tick bite, but ten days on antibiotics and he was back to his old self. Here, too, I now know how wrong that line of thinking was.

The bottom line is this: You can never be too cautious when it comes to bug bites. Do all that you can to protect yourself and your loved ones with bug sprays that contain DEET. When Kathleen was younger, I purchased natural spays and lotions for her to use but I’m not so sure they worked as well as the products that contained DEET.

More recently, however, I have found that OLAY’s MOISTURE RIBBONS PLUS SHEA + Lavender Oil works really well on Kathleen. She told me that the bugs no longer have any interest in her, and she really likes how the lotion smells.

Her pediatrician also recommended the line of bug repellent products produced by Avon under the Skin So Soft label, which others swear by. In any case, find something that works for you and be sure to use it whenever venturing outside, because today’s bug bites can cause so many more, and more serious, problems than just an irritating itch. Put another way: We are now living during a period of time when so many of us have been forced to deal, directly or indirectly, with Lyme.

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