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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Should I let kindergartner go on field trip?

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Author Topic: Should I let kindergartner go on field trip?
yanivnaced
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My daughter just started Kindergarten.
Today they handed out a permission sheet for an apple picking class outing in late October.

The apple farm is located in NY state near the Westchester County/Putnam County border - a heavily tick infested area.

I'm not sure whether I want to sign the permission slip. What would you do?

Are there any precautions one can take to prevent a small child from getting bitten?

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Keebler
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I'm not a parent but to have been kept form going on such field trips as a child would have killed me, literally. A connection to nature, a field trip, is a tremendous experience for any child. And the connection to others - outside of class - is vital for building her self-esteem and helping her learn to navigate in new surroundings.


Do you have any non-toxic sprays for her to use around her neck and wrists? A cute, stylish hat? Long pants will be season with the cooler weather, so that is good.

Can you call the place they are going and find out what precautions they've taken? You might ask the teachers to do a tick check at certain times of the day and then do one when she returns home.

It's important to be able to be in nature. There are ways to work with this. Are there age-appropriate tick education tools that won't freak them out? Kids need to learn to identify ticks and deal with them, regardless of where they are. It might be good for the whole class to have education in this - at their level of understanding basically to just keep an eye out and tell an adult.

Just like with a spider. They don't need to know all the details, just enough.
-

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cactus
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I struggle with these issues, too. For me, it's about finding the balance between my own fears (and the reality of ticks) and letting the kiddos go off to do their own thing and truly live their childhoods.

Not sure how I'd handle a field trip, but I have taken my 5 year old son apple picking recently - in an area endemic for Lyme (aren't they all??).

My kiddo knows he has to wear his "Bug Off" clothes, i.e. Buzz Off Clothes - they are treated with Permethrin. He has socks, hat, long pants and a shirt.

I personally don't use DEET on him - but around 6 yrs old I think it's okay to use 15% DEET solution. I just don't feel DEET is that effective, so we go with more natural alternatives on that one.

We do a semi-tick check before getting in the car to drive home, and the moment we walk in the house all clothes go in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes, and everyone gets a thorough tick check and a bath.

But - I'm present at all times, so keeping vigilant about the kiddo staying out of tall grass, and doing mini-tick checks periodically.

And if we find a tick - or ticks - I know to keep it so we have the option of testing later. Will your child's teacher know how to remove a tick properly? Will s/he keep the tick for you?

Any chance you'd go with the kiddo? But then you'd both be exposed...

Personally - my thought only - I'd either go with the class or create a very special alternate apple themed even for the kiddo.

Not sure I'd be ready to trust the teachers to keep checking and to know what to do if they find a tick.

But that's just me - the crazy tick lady. [Smile]

Editing to add that like Keebler above, I'd have just died if kept home from a field trip as a kid. I do think there are ways you can work around this, too.

--------------------
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again? - A.A. Milne

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jentytib
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As my Dr told me, you can't live in fear, just take precautions. You cannot be scared to live your life.

Maybe go on the field trip with her so you can do a tick check.

I have a ``tick kit'' I keep with me when in endemic areas. It has the stuff to remove a tick, a container to put it in so the TICK can be tested and a filled RX of antibiotics.

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Keebler
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I think it is also important not to instill a fear of ticks. A healthy awareness is important but it might be good to let her know that not all ticks are bad - and those that might be, well, it's not their fault. We just have to be sure not to get their germs.

If a child (or anyone) freaks out too much, the immune system can go kablooy!

Does the LDA have educational kits or guest speakers? Your local Sierra Club or the Audubon Society? I can see how there could be some wonderful and exciting modules about all this.
-

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Ocean
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Awww....I understand how you feel. I would be freaking out too!! However, as others have stated, take precautions. Get clothing containing premathine (or however you spell it!), or the spray for the clothing. It doesn't just repel ticks, but KILLS them!

You already live in the east coast, so you are already in an endemic area. Obviously you can do a thorough tick check as well when the trip is done and as someone suggested, see if you can be a chaparone if you are feeling up to it.

Take care,
Ocean

--------------------
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WildCondor
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Get your child some gaiters and spray them with permethrin, have the teachers do tick checks. Be proactive to make sure the faculty take the proper precautions! WHy not just go with your kid's class to make sure the tick checks are done.
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lightparfait
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Use this as a time to educate the teachers and other parents, as well as prepare your daughter as suggested by all, so you can be less fearful.

Teach your child what to look for...as well.

I know she is young, but she is at an age where she will remember what you teach her now versus in the teenage years.

My son is in the Army...and he has learned from me...the crazy lyme mom...how to look for ticks when he is in the wild for many days on end. I put up a fit when he was admitted.

He has found many ticks...multiple ticks on his ACU's and his buddies in his company...he has become the educator as he has seen first hand the effects on our family.

He told me I would be proud of him...if that actually takes away my fears...not really , I will always be concerned! But we have to let them live.

I seem to be more frightened of ticks then Osama Bin Laden.

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glm1111
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I totally undertand your fear and concern. If the area were infested with scorpions...snakes etc, would they take these children on such an outing?

I just don't understand why these teachers are not more informed. Maybe you could be proactive and let them know of the dangers.

Chances of getting bitten in a field in a tick infested area even with protection are high. Maybe you could take your little one to the zoo or something similar.

Sorry, but if it were my child, it wouldn't happen. The emotional wound will heal a lot quicker than a cauldron soup of Lyme diasese if she can't go,

Gael

--------------------
PARASITES/WORMS ARE NOW
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2roads
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Yan,


I am more like Gael. I totally agree with what the others have said, and the frustration leaves me with..."why in damb nation do the field trips always end up in the woods, esp'y the girl scouts?

If you choose not to do it, which I have done, I would take your child out of school and do something much better then apple picking...only you know what that would be. I wouldn't even explain it to her. It's a surprise. Just call out of school...no reason.

If you do send her, I'd go. I have done that too. Tuck in, spray up, and watch like a hawk. When 5 other kids go running and rolling into the tick abyss, redirect your child. Put a change of clothes in the car and strip when you break from the group.

Ultimately, it's up to you. You decide what's best for you and your family. I know we are all behind you no matter what you choose. Have no shame.

I say to myself that I've already learned that lesson, now I have informed choices to make.

Hugs [group hug]

What a smart, caring Mom [kiss]

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Just Julie
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I'm on the other end of the time line myself. Both my son's have had to live the hell (for me, the mom) of having symptoms for YEARS before I found out we all had lyme, me included.

I worked through the guilt, knowing it was me, not my husband (I'm, or was, the nature girl)who brought this upon my sons. You get thru that, and then you move on. But, it was a very steep learning curve for me. I used to be the penultimate outdoors/nature mom-we did the full spectrum of outdoors things, and I'm sure, my son's could have had ticks on them MANY TIMES that I never knew about.

Now, we are on the far end of the time line, with both my son's in their teens. 17 & 19. They have had 9 YEARS of me trying to educate them, so they can go on and "live their lives" without having to go back into the abyss of lyme treatment. I will never think of them as "lyme free" or disease free. We all have had one too many instances of physical issues come up, that for me, could signify that lyme is still present, but in check.

I would not throw in the towel yet, on the field trip issue. You have no idea what the position of the school, and the teachers is, with the lyme disease education. Until you know, you will have no idea how a teacher(s)would deal with removing a tick on a child (yours or anyone elses)or deal with having a parent tell/ask the teacher to do tick education. There will be other parents on the field trip, who knows how they would react to this type of issue? They may be scoffing, skeptical types, and that would skewer the deal with the teacher trying to do something educational with this, or just letting it go. Watching a bunch of 5 yr old outside will trump any type of sit-quiet-while-we-do-the-lyme-talk thing.

The learning curve is indeed steep here, and it is one you will have to manage from now on. Believe me, there are a handful of things I would do differently, but I couldn't even tell you the first one now, as I"m too far out of the whole thing, and my memory is not what it could be, I chose to let a lot go, my frustrations, how other people dealt with us/me, etc. Can't dwell on it, or even change it now, so it's gone.

My only reason for still being on this message board, is to perhaps help others behind me on this, and to look for hope/clues to what we still have to deal with.

If you are a permissive, throw your hands up in the air personality, you will not make it through trying to keep your child out from under the school bus on these outdoor activities. They come along like rumbling trains, and they are massive, like avalanches. They keep coming and coming, and unless you get your game hat on now, and become a decisive, offensive mom, you will eventually, now or later, just give in.

I never gave in. I kept mine from the outdoor education trips, having to do the "make-up" work that the idiot teachers assigned my son's, when they got the letter from me, telling them that my son's were excused due to "medical reasons". Which, is entirely legal to do, btw. Just like refusing vaccines. You the parent, have the last word here, and even if the school tries to tell you you don't, don't take that.

It's not hard, and it can be not overwhelming, but I think the only way for that to occur, is if you are not wishy-washy in the beginning.

Believe me, that first time (if you have one) you find a tick, either embedded, or just crawling, on your child, you will be the most punishing one of all. I had it happen to ME, not either of my son's, but that one time, of going to a place that was "questionable" regarding whether it could have ticks, or not, was for me. It was my lesson, and I took it seriously, and have not gone to a known tick infested area since. That was in 2004. So, 5 years now, it went by quick!

Good luck, either way, you'll come here, with a report on yes or no, and we will be here for you.

--------------------
Julie

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Just Julie
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Just a fyi: if you are on the fence, and have to get that signed permission slip in by a certain date, you can always do what I did---call your child in sick that day. Or, the day before, you know with "the flu" or some other illness that lasts a few days.

I never felt guilty when I did this. Sure, it's not the entire truth, but I had to buy time in some cases, and what I can tell you now, that I thought then, and actually, still think is this: if your child (or you! if you go on one of these outdoor field trips as a chaperone) gets a tick bite, the school, the other parents, and most definitely the other kids in the class, will not be there when/if your child gets either sick, or very sick, from whatever the tick might regurgitate into your child's body.

You will be the only one to live thru the nightmare. Sure, you may get a handful of kids or their parents sympathizing, but it will be squarely on YOU to deal.

I thought of this many times. And then, time will pass, the others will go on ahead of you, and you will be the one left behind.

Only if you have lived this, will you know what I"m talking about. It is a daunting, lonely road, and you will have no company on it. You will be left with the guilt, of knowing and doing it anyway, and you will have no idea how your child will progress, either educationally, or with a lasting, or quick illness.

I never regretted keeping mine home, once this fully sank into my brain. The school will not care that your child gets ill from a tick bite. Just like that train that rumbles on down the tracks, and you, your child, left on the side of the tracks, alone.

Geez, sorry to be so pessimistic, but it's just so a hard row to hoe.

--------------------
Julie

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Keebler
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For parents who choose to keep kids out of nature trips, how about some kids go to some sort of indoor special field trip instead?
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Just Julie
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quote:
Originally posted by Keebler:
-
For parents who choose to keep kids out of nature trips, how about some kids go to some sort of indoor special field trip instead?
-

EXCELLENT IDEA!!!

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Julie

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opus2828
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I couldn't do it. My daughter's school last year had a field trip to observe nature with a hike through the woods. We are in CT - lots of ticks.
Are these people crazy?

Parents were not allowed on the trip. The kids were told to wear long pants, jackets and hats. They were told they could change clothes back at school.

I signed yes for the trip and called her in sick that day.

And I am so glad I did as it was rainy, humid and horrible and yet they went anyway.

I don't know why it always has to be in the woods.

And what's really concerning is that my daughter's school is surrounded by woods so I suppose they could take them out for a walk anytime and just call it "gym"!

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Hides1
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It is certainly a hard call for someone who hasn't been through Lyme. But considering my enitre fmaily of 5 and also extended members of my family have this stuff- wooded school trips are out for us! There is no since in taking a risk when we would like to get off of antibiotics someday and don't need anymore coinfections than we have already!

It is a heartwrenching decision but it must be done. I used to go with the the kids as a chaperone but then one time we went to a zoo in PA and one woman on the bus ride home had a tick crawling on her. From then on, being I have had such a hard time with the disease, and it has cost our family over $100,000 thus far- I said no more. My kids just won't go.

My 3rd grade son last year had a trip with school grant $ to go to Hawk Mountain and do the trails and search for birds. Only 2 chaperones were allowed and boy I didn't want to go anyway. But then who would be watching my Lyme child? Who would check him and keep a 3rd grade boy away from the long grass (almost impossible to do if he is with a bunch of friends). I opted out of the trip.

He's pretty smart so he understood why- I just made him King of the day and he didn't go to school- I brought him to a museum (whereby he probably leanrd more) and a nice trip to Friendly's. He loved it, told me he had so much fun and thanked me that night. SO kids do get over the initial "No your aren't going."

These outdoor trips and getting really crazy since most schools do not send home notes telling paents to check kids for ticks. This is where we have to help educate the schools. I had out the green pamphlet that Southeast PA group does- a great booklet to inform people. I have talked to the Middle School science classes- whereby the teacher herself had her daughter get bit last November after Thanksgiving from a pile of leaves.

We as parents can't be afraid to talk about this we need to educate. I know the state of PA is trying to pass some laws for more education since the schools really need it. No one is being informed and it needs to get out there.

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kareamber
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That's a hard one. I personally would let my child go. I have a kindergartner as well, but I don't think you can let a child live in fear of the outdoors. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of those spend in nature camping, hiking, and fishing with my family.

I guess a field trip probably won't create childs fondest memories, so if it makes you more comfortable maybe keep the child home and take them to do something "special" that both of you will enjoy.

Maybe just don't tell your child why you are keeping them home...and then go have fun elsewhere!

Good luck with it!

--------------------
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wtl
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I am not sure. The statistics shows that we have a pretty high rate of accident while in cars. What do you think every time you seat your child in it?
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Just Julie
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quote:
Originally posted by wtl:
I am not sure. The statistics shows that we have a pretty high rate of accident while in cars. What do you think every time you seat your child in it?

This type of mentality is EXACTLY why I keep my mouth shut, and after my initial trying to educate my son's teachers, and the school they went to, with little results, I thought, well, f-you people. You have NO idea what it is like to have a child, have symptoms that mimic brain tumor, or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and have your pediatrician throw up her hands when she couldn't get the diagnosis. . .

so, for that snarky comment above in quotes, I say, car accidents? well, so far, my son's, ages 17 & 19 yrs old, haven't been in ONE in their entire lives, while in the car with my husband or me driving. . . but, going outdoors camping, etc,? Got ticks on them that changed their lives FOREVER.

No medical insurance (thanks Blue X) coverage, almost breaking us financially, stress in the marriage over my decisions on not letting them go out into the f-ing wilderness to get bit again, etc.

A car accident? Can be fixed. maybe not, but then again, at least if you have medical insurance, you won't lose your house, your job, your husband, or your life, because they (insurance a-holes) decide that lyme is not covered.

Sorry, you pushed my particular button there whoever you are, your snark is very insulting.

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Julie

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cactus
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I just came back to this post, Julie, to tell you that each time we have this discussion - you are so articulate, and have so obviously thought through all of this... your posts always give me something to ponder, and I find myself thinking of them long after logging off.

I wanted to thank you for that. And that is the only reason I checked back in on this thread - to say thank you for voicing the journey that we all take after Lyme hits our family.

Your voice and your experience are essential to this discussion.

Thank you for posting and for sharing your experience and thoughts on this topic!

It makes me sad to see the posts just above mine. This is a very real, very frightening concern to a lot of parents, especially those of us who have almost lost our lives - and by that I mean we have lost childhoods, careers, life experiences, finances, time, and the list goes on.

The comment about the car trivializes our very real concerns. It is akin to a smoker saying, "Well, I could get hit by a car and die tomorrow so I may as well smoke now."

The point is that we have to make choices about the risky behaviors in which we allow our children to participate.

Making informed, thoughtful decisions about our children is essential. We are the only ones who will be responsible if the worst should happen, and the only ones who will be there to advocate and pick up the pieces.

It is simple for our extended families, teachers, community members - in short, anyone in our life but not affected directly by Lyme - to make comments like the above comment. That is why we have a support board (or part of the reason).

This is the place I came when my son was bitten by a tick, this is the place I agonized over whether to try camping again - not for fear for myself but out of fear for my son.

Each of us have a different comfort zone with regard to areas where ticks may be present, and each of us have a process to go through learning that comfort zone.

Julie - your thoughtful posts are so important here, and I am truly disappointed and sorry to see that your buttons were pushed. Please don't stop posting about your experience - despite the negative comment.

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Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again? - A.A. Milne

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tick battler
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Julie,

I can totally relate to what you are saying. Most cannot understand the suffering we as parents go through when our children are so sick. I have 3 very young children who have been in treatment for a year and who are improving but life has been really, really hard the past 3 years.

My husband and I feel that we (and our kids) have missed out on many of the joys of the toddler and preschool years. Instead of happy, sweet, healthy children, we have dealt with hurting, crying, oppositional, fighting, angry and sad children much of the time.

While many of the symptoms are gone, one of my 5 year old twin boys now shakes his head slightly as if he has parkinson's. It breaks my heart to see this and wonder if he will ever be normal again. And I am terrified of having to go through this nightmare again. It is indeed a very lonely road.

I have not yet had to deal with the field trip issue, since my children are not yet in kindergarten (I held my twin 5 year olds back this year). I will probably be keeping them home on certain trips if I feel the risk is too high. Apple picking...I'm not sure...it depends on whether the farm is fenced to keep deer out. I feel that the presence of deer makes the risk much, much higher. And if I would let them go, they would be dressed head to toe in clothing sprayed with permethrin. Also, I would spray their hands, necks, etc., with some non-toxic tick repellent.

I, too, grew up as "nature girl" in Michigan. My parents still have a cabin on a lake there in northern Mich, so we have been to visit. Of course, Lyme disease does exist there but it is not endemic, as here in PA. I know they are there, but we have never seen a deer tick at the cabin.

The deer are still wild up there and don't graze by the road or in the yard like cows. So, I agreed to go there with them this summer, but sprayed several of the kids outfits with Sawyer brand permethrin.

So, I guess my approach with the field trips will be to learn as much as possible about the trip and if I am at all uneasy about it...I may just keep them home. I like the ideas of calling in sick and then going to a museum or somewhere fun. We do our own educating about nature in a much more controlled environment!

tickbattler

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wtl
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quote:
Originally posted by Just Julie:
quote:
Originally posted by wtl:
I am not sure. The statistics shows that we have a pretty high rate of accident while in cars. What do you think every time you seat your child in it?

You have NO idea what it is like to have a child, have symptoms that mimic brain tumor, or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and have your pediatrician throw up her hands when she couldn't get the diagnosis. . .


Sorry Julie. My thought might not come through as I intended.

I do have a child and she is under Lyme treatment so I do know what it means. But i am sorry that I have insulted you and it is very unfortunate I am not as articulate as I should have been.

What I tried to say is that this may be a very personal decision and each of us will arrive to different conclusion. But no matter what decision you have come to, I trust, as parents, you obviously have given a serious thought.

Sorry I should have kept my mouth shut. Please don't hate me. [Smile]

Cheers and good luck with whatever decision you come to make.

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Just Julie
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hey, thank you both--Cactus, and tickbattler. Your responses were so warm, it's been a long time since I've had a post directed towards something I'd written, that was so nice. And I appreciate it!

I sound oppositional myself, in my posts, not only on this thread, but on others, and for that, I guess it is just a sum of my parts. My experience, and my knowledge have led me to the place that I just don't have time, or patience for the bull****. Not to say that ANY of this was that, but when you get a drive-by post, and it's got a bit of the neener neener in it, I guess I just don't have that filter that allows me to "let it go".

Plus, I normally don't engage in posts any longer that are controversial, such as the bionic one. That was the last major thread I jumped into, and it got heated, nasty, and just down right weird.

So, thanks again. I take your words to heart. A mother's heart (even a dad's [Wink] can take so much, and then? well, it's mama bear time.
Julie

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Julie

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Just Julie
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Hey Kathy---"lyme is a head-on collision, if there ever was one" NOW that was a spectacular analogy! I've not heard it put that way before, but I can tell you, as someone who appreciates wordsmiths, and such, your version of tying lyme into a horrifying, equal to a death producing incident, is right up my alley! (word-wise).

Also, russian roulette? that's dead-on too.

Maybe if we viewed the trips out into the "countryside", etc, as such, we might have a better outlook on the how's and why's we let our kids do these trips. Because, really, it is only a matter of time - - - maybe not *this* trip, but certainly the next, or wait, maybe it'll be the NEXT trip that does it.

The ticks don't care, if they don't bite YOUR kid, there's always another one coming down the pike.

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Julie

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yanivnaced
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Thanks for all the comments and suggestions guys.
I've made the decision to not send her on this field trip.

The only field trips I'll allow are things like trips to the firestation, recycling plant, etc.

It's truly baffling how schools in most endemic areas are so ignorant or flippant about tick borne disease. If they ask why I'm not sending her I tell them it's because of ticks.

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glm1111
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Yan...

That's a VERY WISE DECISION!!! [bow] [woohoo]

Gael

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PARASITES/WORMS ARE NOW
RECOGNIZED AS THE NUMBER 1 CO-INFECTION IN LYME DISEASE BY ILADS*

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springshowers
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I agree.. Very wise decision. not that that is what is important..

I was going to post prior to this to make sure not to let others sway what your motherly intuition tells you.!

Posts: 2747 | From Unites States Of America | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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