Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Prevention

This post concludes the Lyme Awareness Month series, and thankfully I’ll be moving on to some topics that are a little bit more fun in the coming weeks. Speaking of, next week, I’ll be posting some details about a giveaway that I’ll be doing, so stay tuned for more on that!

Below are some preventative measures to help keep you and your family safe. Prevention is the absolute biggest key in safeguarding yourself against this illness, so please be sure to share this information with friends and family, especially as the summer months approach and outdoor activities become more frequent.

Lyme Disease has been found in every single one of the American states and is present all over the world. This is not a disease that is secluded to the Northeast anymore. It’s everywhere.

Ticks come in all shapes and sizes, and young ticks (nymphs) can be as small as a poppyseed. Do you have freckles? One of those freckles could very well be a tiny tick. Just saying…

Make sure to conduct a full body tick check after you’ve been hiking, fishing, hunting, or even gardening. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve read about people falling ill after doing garden work in their own backyard.

– Be leery of moist areas– leaning up against tree trunks or sitting in an area of thick underbrush, such as on a pile of leaves, is not a good idea, ticks love these areas.

– Dress to protect: Wear a hat, long sleeves, pants, and high socks in light colors when participating in outdoor activities. Light colored clothing will help you to more easily spot a tick, and it’s much harder for ticks to attach through a piece of clothing. Also keep your hair pulled back if you have long locks.

– Consider using insect repellent such as Deet or a natural alternative like Geranium essential oil.

– If you begin to feel fluish or discover an odd-looking rash after spending time outdoors, get to your doctor immediately. Lyme Disease can usually be successfully treated with a short course of antibiotics, but only if it’s caught in it’s early stages.

– Don’t rely on blood tests for a Lyme diagnosis. Lyme blood tests such as the widely used Elisa, are notoriously unreliable, catching only around 70% of cases. Therefore, Lyme is often a clinical diagnosis given only by experienced LLMD’s (Lyme Literate MD’s) .

– You can still have Lyme even if you don’t get the characteristic rash. Most doctors rely on the presence of the bulls-eye rash to confirm a Lyme diagnosis. In reality, however, fewer than 50% of Lyme sufferers recall a bulls-eye rash, and in some studies this number was as low as 15%.

Never be afraid to get a second opinion. Most medical doctors aren’t adequately trained in diagnosing or treating Lyme, so trust your intuition, do your research, and don’t be afraid to get a second or third opinion.

– Be aware of similar conditions. “[Lyme] can mimic every disease process including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), Fibromyalgia, Autoimmune conditions including sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis and MS, Psychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety, and cause significant memory and concentration problems mimicking early dementia. It is called the “Great Imitator” and inaccurate testing – combined with an ongoing scientific and political debate that questions chronic infection – makes it difficult for sufferers to find appropriate care.” (‘Why Can’t I Get Better?’, Dr. Richard Horowitz)

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