Caught early and treated with antibiotics, Lyme disease is usually a short-term health issue.
So what’s the big deal when Lyme goes unrecognized and untreated for weeks, months, or years? Here are a few points to consider.
- physical, mental, and emotional suffering—and yes, even death
- lost wages and lost productivity when people can’t work because they are ill
- life savings, retirement funds, and home equity spent by individuals and entire families on treatment often not covered by insurance
- countless missed opportunities for children unable to go to class, sustain friendships, or participate in life events from scouts and field trips to first dates, prom, and graduation
- the heartbreak of young adults missing out on launching their careers, attending friends’ weddings, or enjoying romantic relationships of their own
- babies suffering from Lyme transmitted to them from their moms
Lyme and other illnesses carried by ticks can be positively horrendous.
To make matters worse, the medical community is divided. The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) states that no Lyme bacteria survive after a short course of antibiotics; any symptoms after that must be residual damage or the result of something else. Unfortunately, doctors who follow this won’t treat patients even when they are getting sicker and sicker.
The International Society of Lyme and Associated Diseases (ILADS) asserts that Lyme bacteria can persist—and persist in causing illness. Killing bacteria with a longer course of antibiotics, according to the ILADS treatment guidelines, is the way to go.
All I can say is, I believe antibiotic treatment saved me. I believe it’s just a matter of time before research results knock IDSA off their pedestal.
Lyme Disease is a growing health threat everywhere. In the U.S. alone, some 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme Disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But that’s just a preliminary estimate; research is underway to refine the numbers, with the expectation by many doctors treating Lyme that the actual number is much higher. Reports of Lyme continue to rise across the globe.
Untreated Lyme can be a frightening story, as told by many sufferers including science writer Paula Weintraub in her book Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic. Check out her article “Why You Should be Afraid of Lyme Disease” here.
This infection can impact every system in the human body. And illness isn’t usually sparked by Lyme bacteria alone; one tick can transmit a number of nasty things. That’s why you’ll hear the term “tick-borne illness” instead of Lyme.
Infections spread by ticks can lead to myriad devastating symptoms, both mental and physical. The longer the bacteria roam the body, the more entrenched they become—and the longer it can take for treatment to improve your health.
Incredible but true: Misinformation about Lyme means countless people aren’t getting treated soon enough to avoid the nightmare of chronic Lyme, even though it’s treatable.
People are told so many things erroneously:
“You didn’t see a tick bite or get a bull’s-eye rash so you aren’t infected.” The truth? As many a half the people diagnosed never saw a tick; many more never got the rash.
Or, “You can’t have Lyme, it doesn’t exist in our area” — when in fact Lyme does occur where they live.
Or, “Your test is negative, so you don’t have Lyme.” Lyme testing is imperfect; a negative test result doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no Lyme infection.
If you’ve had any of these experiences, it would be great to hear from you in the comments section below. People from more than 100 countries have visited this site. We can all learn from each other.
Chronic Lyme can be prevented if you get proper treatment right after a tick bite. But both patients and doctors have got to have the right information.
That’s why I’m committed to learning all I can to help get the word out. I hope you are, too.
- Share your comments on this site with folks from all over the world.
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