Lyme Disease Awareness : What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease, is quickly becoming more prevalent throughout our country. Recent winters in the Midwest never provide 3 weeks of freezing weather. This would kill the existing tick population; therefore as our climate continues to change, so must we. Empower yourself with Lyme disease awareness and teach your children tick checks are imperative. Armed with the knowledge and power to act immediately, you’ll never have to suffer the devastating effects of this disease.
Did you know?
Ticks carrying Lyme disease & other tick borne illnesses are found in ALL 50 states & in every country (except Antarctica).
Preventing Lyme disease is simple: identify and treat immediately!
It takes 24-48 hours for an attached tick to transmit disease and every case is different. But your best chance to prevent disease is a routine tick check. If you find the sucker early, there’s no cause for worry!
But the longer a tick is embedded, the more your chances for transmission go up. The tick population does NOT die in winter. The vast majority of ticks will carry some kind of infection.
May was declared Lyme Disease Awareness Month because it’s typically when ticks spawn. Yet our climate continues to change, ticks continue marching further north and emerge earlier in the season. It’s important remain vigilant whenever you’re spending time outdoors in tick prone areas (woods, tall grasses).
If caught early, a round of doxycycline will knock out a potential infection. But when left untreated, the bacterium begins reproducing. As the numbers grow, so does the ability to effectively eradicate the parasite.
By spreading the word, and sharing the importance of ‘TICK CHECKS’ you can take charge of this deadly disease BEFORE it takes hold of a loved one.
In another lifetime, I watched as my first husband lost 70 pounds in course of a year. He was suffering from abdominal pain and frequent boughs of nausea & vomiting.
Over the course of 18 months, 12 doctors & a variety of invasive procedures- no one provided any explanation. Again and again I was told, ‘the patient looks healthy on paper‘ & no obvious reason explained his pain & long list of migrating symptoms.
That’s when sharing his symptoms on Facebook shed some light into a bleak situation.
A Western Blot test sent to Igenix lab finally provided some answers.
Markers on the test indicated Lyme & Babesia (both tick borne pathogens) were the likely suspects. Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacterium that causes Lyme disease) was the main cause for my husband’s declining health.
While it can be treated late stage treatment is expensive and unpleasant. High powered antibiotics will kill the bacterium but as they die off, patients suffer herxheimer reactions. With a high ‘viral’ load the reaction can be as debilitating as the illness itself. It takes years for late-stage patients to recover.
Late stage Lyme disease is expensive to treat, hard to diagnose and not profitable for insurance companies.
In short, the poor guidelines for diagnosis and treatment make it easier for insurance companies to deny claims.
Perhaps one day, we might one day change the way the medical community handles its approach to this & other tick borne illnesses.
Below are a few facts about Lyme and some websites that offer valuable information.
*Lyme disease is a serious illness affecting countless families each year. It is a disease that costs society approximately $2 billion dollars annually. The average cost related to treatment and lost wages are approximately $61,688 per patient per year.*Lyme is the most prevalent vector-borne disease in the USA. Lyme is reported as having 220,000 new cases annually and 25% of these victims are children. Because of the variety of symptoms & percentage of 'false negatives' occurring with standard testing, Lyme is often missed or misdiagnosed.*Lyme causes permanent damage and ongoing problems when not detected early. Symptoms sometimes similar to Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue, Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose and can mimic ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Lupus, and even Alzheimer's disease.Below are some great informational websites.
- With a quick click, you can see the total of Lyme cases reported by the CDC for each state in the country: https://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/Maps/index.html
- The Lyme Disease Association provides links to important info regarding Lyme Disease, from a symptoms checklist to a list of Lyme Disease support groups. https://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/
- www.georgialymedisease.org offers helpful tips that may aid in the diagnosing of Lyme disease. Some suggestions are taking a picture of any rash that occurs after a tick bite for later reference, and saving ticks that you pull off of yourself and your children in dated zip lock bags (it is much easier to test a tick for Lyme disease than it is to test a patient!).
- There is a ton of useful information in the 'Lyme Times' put together by the California Lyme Disease Association. You can order hard copies of the publication from their website- these are great resource guides!