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.
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.
Everyone, 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.
You’ve probably read that ticks carrying lyme disease and other infections can be the size of a poppy seed. Sure, you’ve seen the seeds adorning muffins. But this video PSA with Katie Seeley makes you stop and focus on just how tiny they truly are.
It’s important to know what you are looking for, so that when you check yourself or your kids for ticks, you’re looking as closely as humanly possible. Someone I know pulled a speck from his skin with tweezers thinking it was just a minute scab, until he looked at it up close and saw tiny legs waving at him.
Indeed, these ticks are so small that I missed the one that reinfected me when it first latched onto my thigh. Despite my fanatical body check (I was recovering from a previous infection, so believe me, I was motivated never to be bitten again), the infinitesimal tick eluded me until it had been embedded in my skin for a couple of days and caused some irritation…by which time it had transmitted its dangerous cargo, causing my health to crash again.
Remove an infected tick soon after it bites, and you may well never be infected. Seek proper treatment right away if you are infected, and by most accounts you will feel great soon. Miss the infection for some weeks, months, or years—and you could be in for a world of trouble beyond anything you ever imagined.
So check out this video, and mind Benjamin Franklin’s words: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Lymenade, which produced this video with And What Productions, is no more. But the group’s creative work to get the word out about the lyme epidemic lives on. Learn more in the videos following “Poppy Seed,” above.
And to see a New York Times video on how a tick sticks to the skin, click here.