Ticks. Calvert County, Maryland.
by Kathy Meyer
Virginia Governor’s Task Force on Lyme Disease 2010-13 and
Co-leader, Parents of Children with Lyme Support Network, DC Metro Area
“…The physician cannot rely on a laboratory test or clinical finding at the time of the bite to definitely rule in or rule out Lyme Disease infection, so must use clinical judgment as to whether to use antibiotic prophylaxis. Testing the tick itself for the presence of the spirochete, even with PCR technology, is helpful but not 100% reliable.
An established infection by B. burgdorferi [the bacteria that causes Lyme] can have serious, long-standing, or permanent, and painful medical consequences, and be expensive to treat. Since the likelihood of harm arising from prophylactically applied anti-spirochetal antibiotics [taking antibiotics to kill potential infection] is low, and since treatment is inexpensive and painless, it follows that the risk benefit ratio favors tick bite prophylaxis.”
-Dr. Joseph Burrascano, the longest-treating physician for Lyme in the U.S.
As the weather warms, there is justifiable panic in the question, “I just found a TICK on me, so what do I DO?!” Continue reading
And when are these attacks going to stop? I know of a local doctor in court right now fighting to protect herself—and going bankrupt in the process.
We must all speak up against this unspeakable problem in so many countries!
See One Step Closer for Physicians in VA.
Credit: Zappy’s flickr stream
I just saw a Facebook posting by the Lyme Disease Association of Australia that got my Lyme-infected blood boiling:
“Antibiotic treatment for Lyme can often be hard to access in Australia due to our government and health officials opposition and as a result, this can leave patients having to source alternative treatment options…”
At the very least, everyone deserves the chance to see a compassionate, respectful doctor for help with Lyme and other infections from ticks. A doctor who listens and understands and offers medical help — not one who says, “Lyme doesn’t exist here, you don’t have it.” A doctor who offers science-based treatment options. Continue reading
Credit: ashroc’s flickr stream
Coping with persistent Lyme—or any serious illness that goes on for a long time—often becomes a part-time or even full-time job.
With so many medical appointments and medications to keep track of, not to mention feeling rotten, you might be letting some important things slide.
Here’s a reminder of items to put on your calendar:
- Dental check-up and cleaning. See your dentist once a year; neglecting your teeth could cost you in the long run. Your dentist not only catches problems with your teeth before they reach a crisis stage, but checks for mouth cancer as well. Untreated gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth; studies suggest it may cause strokes or heart attacks.
- Colonoscopy. The schedule varies depending on your age, race, and family history. Colon cancer may not cause symptoms until it is pretty advanced. Don’t take chances.
- Annual skin check—or an immediate appointment if you see something suspicious. Skin cancer rates are higher than those for any other form of cancer. A dermatologist can readily recognize both dangerous skin cancers and potential troublemakers, hopefully catching them before they spread. This infographic from the American Cancer Society tells the story.
- Gynecological/Prostate exam. Okay, so no woman or man looks forward to these appointments. But getting checked out sure beats the life-threatening alternative.
- Eye exam. See your doctor at least every two years for things like macular degeneration and glaucoma (yearly if over 60) and be sure to alert the doc to your lyme infection, which may impact your eyes.
And don’t forget your annual physical. Your Lyme literate doctor is covering a lot of bases, and may well catch something amiss that’s not related to tick-borne infections.
Nonetheless, it’s important to maintain appointments with your primary care physician, who goes through an exam with a fresh eye and check basics like cholesterol. Put your general practitioner and Lyme doctor in touch to ensure that your care is complete.