Quick Tips on Preventing Lyme Disease from a UPMC Children’s Physician-Researcher - UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation

What's Happening

Quick Tips on Preventing Lyme Disease from a UPMC Children’s Physician-Researcher

Experts at UPMC Children’s describe Pennsylvania as “ground zero” for Lyme disease.

Andrew Nowalk, MD, PhD, is clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UPMC Children’s and a renowned leader on the diagnosis and care of pediatric Lyme disease cases.

“We have become the epicenter of Lyme disease in the United States here in western Pennsylvania,” Dr. Nowalk shares. “We have seen steady levels of Lyme disease cases at UPMC Children’s for the last five years. Our Lyme disease caseload is the highest of any children’s hospital in the country.”

Preventing Lyme Disease

So how do you keep your child from getting Lyme disease? Here are some quick tips:

  • Look for ticks on kids’ bodies. Ticks can hide under the armpits, behind the knees, in the hair, and in the groin.
  • Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.
  • Wear enclosed shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
  • Use insect repellent that contains 0.5% permethrin or 20% DEET. Be careful to follow the instructions on the packaging and use it on clothes for a longer lasting effect.
  • Be extra careful when hiking in the woods or areas with tall grasses, as well as at dusk and dawn.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

“A rash is usually the first sign of Lyme disease,” Dr. Nowalk says. “Which is a red ring that expands, sometimes with some clearing in the center, sometimes not.”

If you think your child has been bitten by a tick and could be at risk for Lyme disease, clinical diagnosis is key.

“Testing for Lyme disease does not work well in the first stage of disease with just the rash.  Seeing an experienced clinician who can look at a rash and diagnose it properly is very, very important,” Dr. Nowalk shares. “The good news is that testing in later stages of disease is very accurate and getting that testing done can confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease and get you on the right antibiotic quickly.” Find more information on Lyme disease here.

Donate today to support the expert care provided by UPMC Children’s specialists like Dr. Nowalk.


The Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation Awards Grant to Further Cancer Research

Named for legendary golfer and Latrobe native Arnold Palmer and his wife, Winnie, the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation is committed to making a difference in the lives of children and families.

Sydney’s Story

Sydney was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Urea Cycle Disorder / Ornithine Transcarbamylase deficiency (UCD/OTC) at just one year old.

World-Class Palliative Care for Every Child and Family, at Every Stage of Life

The new Division of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care aims to build a future where there are no barriers to this life-changing care.

Lorenzo’s Journey to the Heart Institute at UPMC Children’s

Within days of his birth, a team of skilled surgeons at UPMC Children’s performed open heart surgery on Lorenzo.

Children’s Trust Grants $100,000 for Startup Pediatric Research

Each spring, a group of hand-selected researchers pitch next generation, budding research concepts to members of the Children’s Trust for a chance at winning seed funding to help kickstart their research.

Welcoming New Leadership on the Board of Trustees

Learn more about Vanessa and what inspires her to serve UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh so proudly, in her own words.

Philanthropy Supports Individualized Behavioral Health Care

Throughout our hospital, there are many licensed psychologists dedicated to supporting specific service lines.

2023 Walk for Children’s: Celebrating Our First $1 Million Walk

Walk for Children’s, presented by UPMC and UPMC Health Plan, reached new heights this year, gathering 4,157 walkers, 255 teams, and 54 sponsors.