Summer is the time for outdoor fun and the time for bugs. This year because there wasn’t a really cold winter I seem to have an over-abundance of ticks. I never gave the little buggers much thought but recently I have been going through some strange symptoms that the doctors now think are a result of Lyme Disease. Ick! I had two ticks attach to me while I was out trimming bushes and I gave no thought to it, pulling them off and continuing with my work. A few weeks later, various joints started swelling then going down then the next day a new one would swell. The pain has been intense and some days I just don’t feel like moving. I am on medication now but my research has shown me that sometimes it lasts a long time, even years. Not good news but I am hopeful this antibiotic works. I am not sure that is what I have but we will know soon when the blood tests come back. For now we are being pro-active.
My advice to all of you out there is that if you have a tick on you, don’t pull it out haphazardly. It must be removed so that the entire head comes out and the body isn’t squeezed (injecting more of the bacteria into the blood). The carrier of the disease is a deer tick, although there is some research that other related ticks are now carrying the bacteria. If you have one attached and you remove it, be sure to identify the type of tick. If a bulls-eye rash develops on the spot you have Lyme Disease. Get to the doctor quickly. The sooner medication is administered, the better your chances are of defeating the infection. I didn’t have the rash (fifty percent of people don’t) so I became more infected without knowing it. There are multiple symptoms, some so horrible I don’t even want to think about them.
In my research I found that there is a lot of controversy surrounding Lyme Disease. There is a movie “Under Our Skin” that will soon be playing on PBS. If you have Netflix you can watch it. The movie is also available on Hulu.com but there are commercials. This movie scared me so badly. I had always thought Lyme Disease is not that bad. My mistake. One pathologist has linked the bacteria to Alzheimer’s Disease. Other links have been shown to ALS, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis. This would be a break-through for the causes of these diseases if there is a connection. Watch this movie. You should educate yourself about this growing risk. It is incredible what a tiny little tick bite can cause. The problem is that the CDC does not recognize long-term Lyme Disease and there are a lot of people suffering from it. There is an estimate that 420,000 people a year are infected, with only 32,000 cases being reported. It’s actually an epidemic.
So please, please, if you are out enjoying the woods or even your yard be extra careful about the little bloodsuckers. It’s in Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa. We have Lyme disease in just about every state in the Union. And, just to throw another wrench in it – your dogs can get Lyme Disease too. Protect them and yourselves!
Have you ever heard of Lyme Disease? Do you know someone who’s had it? What’s your take on the little bloodsuckers? I, for one, am now horrified of any tick within a mile of me!