Lyme disease (LD) is a bacterial infection most commonly transmitted by deer ticks and other vectors (mosquitoes, fleas, mites). Infected deer ticks have spirochetes (“spy-roh-keet”) that are passed on to their hosts and cause Lyme disease. The scientific name for the spirochete is called Borrelia burgdorferi.
Lyme disease has been found in every state within the United States and on every continent except for Antartica. There are currently over 100 different types of Lyme disease just within the United States.
Prevention is the KEY!
Following these simple steps will help reduce your chances of contracting Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses:
- Wear light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirt; making sure to tuck your shirt into your pants, and your pants into your socks.
- Use DEET on exposed skin and treat all clothing.
- Upon returning home; do a thorough tick check, place all clothing into the wash immediately, and dry clothes on “high” temperature.
- Avoid brushing up against long grasses and tick invested areas, making sure to stay on well-maintained paths.
- If you do find a tick on you, follow these directions for removal:
- Using fine-point tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull the tick out straight using steady pressure. Do NOT squeeze the tick. If you don’t have tweezers, protect your hands with gloves.
- Put the tick into a zip lock bag with a moist tissue.
- Label the bag with your name, date, and location where tick was found.
- Bring the tick to the nearest lab, health department and/or veterinarian and get it tested ASAP.
- Wash your tweezers, hands, and site of the bite immediately.
The sooner accurate testing and diagnosis for Lyme disease is done, the greater the possibility of a complete recovery.
Lyme disease has been called the “Great Imitator” because many of the symptoms mimic other diseases and can affect the musculoskeletal systems, neurologic system, digestive and excretory systems, respiratory/circulatory systems, reproductive system, as well as mental capabilities and psychological well being. Many people with Lyme disease have been diagnosed/misdiagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), MS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Endometriosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, ADHD, Mental illness and Depression.
Lyme disease can be very difficult to diagnose, because it can imitate other illnesses/diseases and has limited testing reliability (less than 55% accuracy rate), it is recommended that a clinical diagnosis be made. A clinical diagnosis is made by a physician based upon a patient’s medical signs and symptoms, and diagnostic test results (blood).
In it’s early stages, Lyme disease can be easily treated through the use of oral antibiotics. Current general Lyme tests have a reliability of less than 55% accuracy rate. http://igenex.com
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Financial assistance for Lyme disease testing is available through LymeTap: http://lymetap.com