'It's just scary how serious Lyme disease is': One mom's warning after son suffers tick bite

"He woke up crying and he couldn't walk to the bathroom. He said his body hurt," she said.


Brittney Lehman is warning parents about the dangers of tick bites after her 4-year-old son contracted Lyme disease.

"It's just scary how serious Lyme disease is," said Lehman, who lives in Ruffs Dale, Pennsylvania.

Lehman says her son Carter loves playing outside and she's always careful. She says she checks him for ticks every night after his bath.

But two weeks ago, he started getting a rash on his cheeks and his temperature hit 103.

"He woke up crying and he couldn't walk to the bathroom. He said his body hurt," Lehman said.

Doctors immediately put Carter on antibiotics and test results confirmed he had Lyme disease. Lehman says they likely missed the tick because it was in his hair.

"Ticks do really like to go into the hairline and places you're not going to find them, so when your child is coming in you want to check them all over and really pull up the hair to look in there," explains Dr. Andrew Nowalk, associate professor of pediatrics at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Nowalk says Lyme disease has been an epidemic in western Pennsylvania for a decade.

"Pennsylvania has more tick-borne infections than any state in the country," Nowalk said.

He urges anyone who spends time outdoors to stick to paths and avoid tall grass, especially at dawn and dusk when ticks tend to bite more. He also encourages everyone to wear insect repellent.

"We've been admitting a lot of kids who have been quite sick, and so I urge parents to keep it in mind," Nowalk said. "It's a very unusual summer but it's still a time when Lyme disease is going to be one of the most common infections we're going to see."