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
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.
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
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
Don’t be put off by the science lingo—click on the image to download and play a Powerpoint of the nanotrap at work. Cool, right?
Courtesy of Dr. Lance Liotta, George Mason University.
Several years ago after gardening in my suburban backyard, I found a deer tick attached to my hip. Then came a rash. And then I started hurting all over like I was getting the flu.
I wasn’t surprised when my nurse practitioner examined me, diagnosed Lyme, and prescribed antibiotics. I should have been lucky. I had the bite with the beast still attached, in the middle of the classic target rash. I felt like I was dying of flu-like aches and pains.
But as it turned out, I wasn’t lucky after all. Continue reading
I’m always a little stunned when I track this blog and am reminded that people from all over the world visit. So many of us are on the lookout for information.
Today I’m thinking about Canadians because lots of my traffic at the moment is coming from my neighbors to the north, who’ve been checking out my post from several years ago on how Lyme was affecting my brain at the time. Looks like some of you are sharing the link on Facebook. Thank you!
Like others around the globe, many Canadians are having a tough time getting good treatment. Health officials just don’t get it (sound familiar?).
The nonprofit Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation says: Continue reading
Meet Dr. Alan MacDonald. Okay, so he’s a little wonky when he goes into the scientific details—he’s a pathologist. But remember, those details speak to his credibility. And in this July 2013 YouTube video, he serves up some excellent big-picture explanations that we can all understand.
You might be surprised by some of the details he offers in a variety of areas, including these (keep your cursor on the bottom of the screen to keep minutes visible and zoom to these highlights):
- what we can learn from syphilis as it relates to its “cousin” Lyme (4:00)
- how Lyme infects just about any part of the human body (6:15)
- what MacDonald found when studying the brains of people who had dementia (8:19)
- how the current U.S. Lyme test is based on only one strain, although there are at least 100 known here—and more in Europe (8:28)
The ongoing work of dedicated researchers like Dr. MacDonald is critical to filling the holes in current knowledge about Lyme disease.
March 4, 2013, was a great day for getting the word out about testing for Lyme, the sixth-fastest-growing infectious disease in the country: Virginia became the first state in the nation requiring doctors to tell patients that their Lyme test results may not be accurate.
With the signature of Governor Robert F. McDonnell, who convened a task force on Lyme in 2011, Virginians will gain a better chance of early diagnosis and treatment.
That’s great news for Virginians, and great news for others across the globe seeking similar legislation.