Category Archives: Prevention Tips

Beware Infection and Re-infection with Lyme

My friend Mickey gave me this magnifying glass cleverly disguised as a necklace. Note the thin tweezers for grasping the tick close to the skin, and the sesame seed next to the nymphal tick.               LifeLoveLyme

My friend Mickey gave me this magnifying glass cleverly disguised as a necklace. Note the thin tweezers for grasping the tick close to the skin, and the sesame seed next to the largish-sized nymphal tick.
LifeLoveLyme

 

 

Last week, I had just pulled out of my brother’s driveway in the gorgeous countryside on the outskirts of Middleburg, Virginia, when I felt an itch on my ankle. I looked down and saw a teensy tick clinging on by its mouthparts. Wrenching the steering wheel, I pulled over in a blind panic. Using my fingernails as tweezers, I grabbed it as close to the skin as I could and got it off.

Chanting “Be calm, be calm,” I got out of my car and scanned the parts of my body I could see. There on the back of one leg was a larger tick. I struggled with that one but got it off, too.

Making a U-turn like I was in a movie getaway scene, I tore up John’s driveway, jumped from the car and ran into his house. I shouted out what I’d found as I headed for the bathroom, stripping off my clothes as I went.   Continue reading

Time to Move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?

What's happening to the tick life cycle?

What’s happening to the tick life cycle?

 

The month of May brings many things, among them Mother’s Day, tulips, and Lyme Disease Awareness campaigns. But according to Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at Cary, if we want to get a leg up on tick-borne illness we need to become vigilant earlier in the season.

Source/Learn why here: Time to Move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?

Guess What Eats Ticks in Your Yard?

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Video: “Lyme Is Hell”

This powerful public service ad comes from the Netherlands. This English version was just released for World Lyme Day 2016. (View the Dutch version here.)It’s going viral.

The last bit may surprise you. Or…may not, if you are living with this illness.

May is Lyme Awareness Month. Please promote understanding of Lyme Disease: Please share.

And protect yourself from this hell. Read these top ten prevention tips from ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society).

Ticks on the Move

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 7.42.04 PMThis graph from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives a clear picture of what’s ahead for summer: plenty of potential for tick bites transmitting Lyme (and other nasties).

You cannot be too careful; there’s no such thing. A friend told me the other day that his mom’s hairdresser found a tick in her hair. Thankfully it had not bitten her yet.

She has an indoor cat and doesn’t generally spend much time off sidewalks, so you can see that this health threat can be tough to avoid.

I’ve heard that 50% of ticks around here are infected. The odds are not good. We’ve got to be vigilant all year long, even in winter, but never more than in May thru August.

Infected

C at Great Falls

Staying on boardwalk trails at Great Falls National Park in Virginia.

 

I’ve been thinking about the day I went hiking in a gorgeous old chestnut forest in Southern Maryland that is protected by a local land trust. Volunteers keep the trails beautifully manicured, with small limbs trimmed back and mulch on the paths.

This was my first long walk in years; treatment had finally gotten me to a  place where I figured I could handle it without crashing.

I felt I was relatively safe from ticks there, keeping out of underbrush, not brushing up agains branches. My boots and clothes were treated with bug-killing permethrin. I really looked forward to rambling about for an hour or so of fresh air, soaring trees, and bird song. Judging from the way he pranced along, my dog Mo was pretty excited, too.

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When I got home I did all the necessary things: Stripped, threw everything in the dryer on hot for 20  minutes to kill any ticks, took a shower, washed and dried my hair, checked my body.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I found a tick sucking on my leg. Who knows where it came from. Perhaps from Mo; my vet tells me no tick-killing products for pets are 100% effective.

It’s a myth that it takes at least 48 hours to become infected—more like a matter of hours. So I knew enough to call my Lyme doctor, who immediately increased my antibiotics (I was recovering from a tick bite more than two years before and still on meds). But it was already too late.  Continue reading

10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Lyme Disease

IV treatment. Pills. More pills. I can't believe I made it through all that. When it could have been avoided...

That’s the little portable pump for my IV drugs. Then there were the pills. More pills. Harsh meds that made me sicker so I could get better. I can’t believe I made it through all that. When it could have been avoided…

 

 

It’s 2016, and I’m finally climbing out of the Lyme hell I fell into blindly four-and-a-half years ago. If only I’d known more, sooner.

Maybe I can help someone, somewhere, by offering a few things I was shocked to learn. Frankly, it is damned hard to pick just 10 things. But here goes:  Continue reading

Do Ticks Survive Winter? Researchers Weigh In

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I know, ugly photo. But it shows the flowerbed in my backyard where I got a tick embedded in my hip one summer. And a bull’s-eye rash soon after. And pretty soon was very, very ill.

As you can see, my garden is in a sad state these days. Last summer and fall I was too sick to clean it up—and besides, I was very afraid of the danger lurking there.

I said to myself, I’ll feel better in the winter. I’ll get rid of the dead things when the ticks are gone.

Flash forward to the middle of winter. Someone in my support group reported that she’d just come inside her house and done a complete tick check—in January. In Virginia.

And found a live deer tick. We were shocked.

I’d assumed that once temperatures dipped below freezing, ticks were done for ‘til spring. Now I know otherwise.

Here’s what I found out.

Continue reading

Video: “Under Our Skin”

If you haven’t seen the compelling and award-winning lyme documentary “Under our Skin” by Open Eye Pictures, check out the trailer above from YouTube.  It doesn’t seem to be streaming for free any more but see below for info on how to buy it or arrange a screening in your area.

Through interviews with people living the nightmare of chronic lyme as well as the doctors and researchers deeply committed to helping them recover, you’ll learn about this hidden epidemic.

It’s all here, from the shameful treatment of many patients by some in the medical establishment who deny the very existence of persistent lyme to the inaccuracies of testing and the impacts of this insidious illness on individuals and families.

You’ll also hear success stories from people who found health again thanks to lyme literate doctors. If enough people see this film, maybe we can attain the long overdue public awareness and action this health crisis deserves.

To buy the DVD, find out about screenings in your community, or to sign up to host a screening, visit www.underourskin.com.

UPDATE: The sequel, an Academy Award runner up, is now available! PLEASE SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND EMAIL. We need this information to reach beyond those already impacted.

Guest Post: Top Ten Tips to Prevent Chronic Lyme Disease

logoteEveryone, everywhere should read these tips from experts at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), reproduced here from the ILADS website with permission.  

Chronic Lyme disease patients may face a long hard fight to wellness. People with chronic Lyme can have many debilitating symptoms, including severe fatigue, anxiety, headaches, and joint pain. Without proper treatment, chronic Lyme patients have a poorer quality of life than patients with diabetes or a heart condition.

The fact is Lyme is a complex disease that can be highly difficult to diagnose. Reliable diagnostic tests are not yet available which leaves many—patients and physicians alike—relying on the so called “telltale signs” of Lyme disease: discovery of a tick on the skin, a bull’s eye rash, and possibly joint pain. However, ILADS research indicates that only 50%-60% of patients recall a tick bite; the rash is reported in only 35% to 60% of patients; and joint swelling typically occurs in only 20% to 30% of patients. Given the prevalent use of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, joint inflammation is often masked.

Continue reading