30 May 2017

Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

I can’t believe May is practically gone! You can tell I’ve been absent on the blog lately, and you can probably guess that’s because of the Lyme. In my head, I had this AMAZING idea of what I could do for Lyme Disease Awareness planned out. In reality, I’m broken down from seizures and migraines and pain. I’m trying though, and this post is the result of that. So while it may be late in the month of May, it’s still Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and it’s never too late to spread some information!

lyme disease awareness

Let’s go ahead and dive right in: what is Lyme disease?
Well... Lyme disease is a bacteria that is transmitted from an infected tick. That’s the basic definition.

Lyme Disease is the fastest growing vector-borne, infectious diseases in the U.S. and probably the most difficult to diagnose. Fewer than 50% of people with Lyme remember being bitten, and fewer than 50% recall the "classic" bulls-eye rash.

Tests are unreliable, insurance doesn't like to cover you, and unfortunately, many people go on to have debilitating chronic symptoms.

This is why prevention is so important in the first place.

What can you do? Use DEET. If you don't feel safe using it, you can make your own repellent, but I would recommend the DEET.

Always, always, always inspect yourself and your family members after coming indoors from any recreational activity. I always picture monkeys picking bugs off each other. Places like armpits, the back of the knees, and other warm places are common places where ticks like to hide.

Wear light-colored clothing so it’s easier to see the critters, and tucking your shirt and pants in are wise decisions as well. It may be bothersome but it’s worth it.

What do you do if a tick has latched on? First of all, don’t burn it off, don’t use Vaseline, and don't perform those other weird Old Wives' Tales. Tweezers work, but a Tick Twister can be handy. Try not to grasp it by the body because you risk the danger of the tick spitting more bacteria into you. (Gross, I know.) Here are clear instructions on tick removal!

Worried it may be Lyme? It has been deemed "The Great Imitator" because it has the ability to mimic all sorts of conditions, making it hard to diagnose. MS, Lupus, and oh--the great case of, "It's all in your head" can all be things you might hear from doctors. Don't give up if you feel like Lyme might be the case. Always get a second opinion.

As far as what you may want to look out for first are flu-like symptoms.
If left untreated, symptoms like widespread pain, fatigue, and brain fog may begin to occur. (That is just the tip of the iceberg.)

Because the tests for Lyme are so unreliable, many who are suffering get a “false-negative” with bloodwork when they actually do, in fact, have the disease. This results in them sometimes going years without a diagnosis or a proper treatment.

If you’re infected, I would highly suggest trying to find a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor.
A doctor who actually understands. Hence the “Lyme Literate” part.

I’m not trying to be depressing, but Lyme disease has quite frankly, taken it out of me. It’s robbed me of a good part of my social life, my independence, and the feeling of who I am anymore.

If I want you to take away anything from this post, it’s to simply be aware.
Look after yourself, be cautious, look for the signs and know the signs, and most of all, please take this illness seriously.

It really is worth it if you can take just a few precautions the next time you camp, the next time you venture into the woods, hell--the next time you walk out into your backyard.