Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi and it is transmitted by deer ticks. Some early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include a skin rash, fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and/or swollen lymph nodes. In most cases the disease effectively treated by antibiotics and symptoms quickly resolve.
Protect Your Students from Tick-Borne Illnesses:
Tick populations are on the rise and they are carrying an increasing number of diseases that can be transmitted to humans. When venturing out on field trips or on school grounds, protect yourself and your students from tick-borne illnesses by knowing:
To learn more, refer to the Protect Your Family from Lyme and other Tick-Borne Diseases before venturing outdoors with your students.
Lyme disease can affect a student’s ability to learn:
Lyme disease can be a difficult illness to recognize and treat. About 10-20% of people affected by Lyme develop Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), which is sometimes called “chronic Lyme.” The cause of this condition is unclear; many experts believe this is an autoimmune process, but some believe the symptoms are caused by persisting infection. Sometimes lingering symptoms can be the cause of another health condition and not Lyme disease.
Students with PTLDS all present differently, but may have neurocognitive difficulties (concentration, memory, executive function), musculoskeletal problems (aches and pains), and/or significant fatigue. Depending on their symptoms, these students may be eligible for a 504 and/or Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP). Teachers should consult with their school nurse to discuss accommodations needed in the classroom for students with PTLDS.
How Lyme might present in schools: A symptom checklist
Kids and Lyme Disease: How if Affects Their Learning
What teachers need to know about Lyme Disease
The ABCs of Lyme Disease (brochure)
Teach your students about Lyme disease:
Before venturing outside, or as a science topic, you may want to teach your students about Lyme and other tick-borne disease. For classroom materials and various articles about Lyme disease for educators see:
Lyme Disease Association
Educational Resources for the Classroom
Powerpoint and videos for Middle and High School Students