I mention often that my health was destroyed by Lyme disease and co-infections. It caused so much damage to my body that I have constant pain, memory problems, headaches, fatigue and a bunch of other problems. Two of my children were diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease and co-infections as well, both requiring long-term treatment before recovering. My long-term treatment came too late to repair or reverse the damage done by the disease.
I recommend prevention. Know what causes Lyme disease, how to prevent it, and what the initial symptoms are so you can seek immediately treatment. I was pleased to see the Lyme Disease Association, Inc. posted a news segment on Lyme disease as we are now in prime tick season here in Lyme disease country, the most concentrated area of diseased ticks, I believe, in the world. Do not let that fool you into thinking you can’t get Lyme disease in Florida or Kentucky or Texas, though. There have been confirmed cases in every one of the contiguous 48 states.
Please take a couple of minutes to watch this segment on what to look for so that you or one of your children or grandchildren doesn’t become disabled by this horrible disease:
This clip was televised in 2007, but the information is still fairly accurate especially as pertains to prevention. The number of reported Lyme disease cases are now believed to be 300,000 a year as opposed to 30,000. If caught early, most Lyme disease cases are easy to cure. The key is catching it early, often requiring that you educate your doctor on what to look for, and insisting on antibiotics before testing. Testing will not show positive for early cases as Lyme disease tests only look for antibodies which will not be present in the earliest stages.
To the right is a great page with information on preventing Lyme disease by dressing appropriately and knowing what to look for. Tick checks are a must if you are outside in the grass or woods, hiking, fishing or camping.
Although the bullseye rash is an indication of infection, I read that only a small percentage of Lyme disease cases present with the rash. I had a huge rash by the time my doctors diagnosed me as did my son, but my daughter got a rash about the size of a 50 cent piece that did not look like a bullseye rash. Many cases present with no rash at all. Symptoms of Lyme disease can be:
- achy joints
- stiff neck
- sharp pains in muscles that move around the body
- Bell’s palsy – paralysis on one side of face
- flu-like symptoms
If you have been outdoors and present with several of these symptoms that cannot be explained by any other cause, please, please ask for 28 days of doxycycline. Do not settle for 21 days. Insist on 28 to start with and come back if symptoms are not completely cleared up. There is a lot of ignorance in the medical community about Lyme disease, its symptoms and treatments.
After being outdoors, take a very hot shower, wash your clothes and dry them in a hot dryer. Ticks can survive underwater for a long time and could survive being washed. Although I hate to use it, and rarely do, an insect repellent containing DEET is supposed to repel ticks. I use a homemade spray of peppermint oil, water and a drop or two of dish soap on my legs when I go outside in the garden. This spray repels mosquitoes, too.
Be careful, be aware and be safe!