Category Archives: Ticks: Where It all Starts

Video: Pathologist Alan MacDonald Addresses Important Lyme Questions

If you’re like me, you want to know the latest scoop on what scientists are learning about Lyme disease. In this May 2013 interview we hear again from pathologist Alan MacDonald. (This interview is part 2 of a 3-part series, see the first one here). I’ve noted some key points you can jump to if you don’t have time to view the entire interview.

Continue reading

Garden of Evil?

Photo: LifeLoveLyme

Photo: LifeLoveLyme

After months of being severely limited by Lyme – worn out by an hour or two of daily activities and resigned to holding court on my red sofa for most of my waking hours – I am enjoying a period of respite from herxing between treatments as I build up my immune system for the next big round of IV antibiotics. Mind you, at the moment I still only have maybe a quarter of a tank of gas per day to run on, but that’s enough to get me a fraction beyond just the basics. It’s enough to allow me to drive myself to the weekend house all by myself on better days when I’ve planned well, which means an incredible sense of freedom. The first day, I settled in to read a stack of library books and a bagful of New Yorkers and simply…rest.  But yesterday I was seized by the exuberance of the season and went to the hardware store to pick up a small shovel and hot pink petunias. Continue reading

Do Ticks Survive Winter? Researchers Weigh In

DSC00038

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: Did You Know Ticks Can Transmit Lots of Infections—Like Babesiosis?

I’m very lucky to have wonderful neighbors. One of them, Marilyn, called me the other day to say she’d seen this segment of “Monsters Inside Me” on Discovery’s Animal Planet. It explores the case of a Lyme patient who was not recovering, and her doctor’s discovery that she had babesia caused by the parasite Babesia microti. Marilyn knows I’m being treated for Lyme and wanted to make sure I knew about this co-infection. She got the message: Lyme patients with babesia need treatment for that along with Lyme in order to recover. I’m also lucky to have a Lyme literate doctor who checked me for co-infections at the start because I had soaking night sweats, a key symptom; my treatment is going well. Babesia can also cause the spleen to rupture; read one patient’s story here. The good news is, babesia can be treated. But first it has to be diagnosed. Please, share this video to help get the word out. And if you want lots more information on babesia symptoms and treatment, see this video by Dr. Robert Horowitz of the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center in New York. 

Video: Tiny Lyme-Carrying Ticks — Know What You’re Looking For

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.