Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lyme Disease & Ticks FAQ

Isn't that the truth?

What is Lyme Disease? Lyme Disease is a serious bacterial infection caused by a spirochete, which is transmitted via a tick bite (the truth is, any bug that bites can transmit it, like mosquitoes and flees). Lyme Disease is OFTEN misdiagnosed as arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson's, Crohn's, Irritable bowel, autoimmune, autism, and many other things. There are thousands of examples of people who have been diagnosed with one of those things only to find out YEARS later that it is actually Lyme Disease.

I heard that Lyme disease doesn't exist in my state? NOT TRUE. I have talked to, and personally known multiple people that live in states that "don't have lyme", and they got bit by a tick there and got it. A few things to think about, a tick can easily migrate much like a bird. First off, they can attach to a bird, deer, human, ANYTHING...and stay attached for a long time. So lets say they get on a bird. Bird flies from Idaho to Oregon. Tick drops off in woods. EASY. Ticks don't know state lines. Another thing is, Lyme Disease can be sexually transmitted. Not to mention the fact that you could've been bit without knowing it while on vacation. The entire excuse that you couldn't have Lyme Disease because you live in a certain state is severely flawed.

I got bit, but I didn't get a bulls eye rash. That means I didn't get it...right? FALSE! My husband didn't get a rash, my niece didn't get a rash, 2/3 of people who get bit, don't see a rash. DO NOT go by this small symptom. HOWEVER- if you do get a rash, you got it. Get on antibiotics IMMEDIATELY.

The tick wasn't engorged, and it was on me less than 12 hours. I'm okay right? NO! Again, this is such a false notion that the tick has to be engorged or on you for a long time. My little niece was in Oregon (a state that supposedly doesn't have Lyme, or has LITTLE likelihood of getting it) the tick was on her for less than 12 hours, was NOT engorged, she didn't have a rash, and she has Lyme Disease.

What are the Symptoms?
Early Symptoms within a few weeks after being bit:
-Achey Joints

What happens after a long time? When gone untreated, Lyme disease can do some SERIOUS damage. It aggressively attacks the immune system. People with chronic Lyme often have severe joint pain, extreme fatigue, memory issues, seizures, digestive issues, heart problems, among a myriad of other things.

What should I do if I got bit by a tick? First, follow these instructions to remove tick:
Any tick that is attached to the skin should be removed carefully and quickly using the following guidelines:
  • Using small tweezers, grasp the head of the tick at the skin and hold firmly without squishing it, and pull STRAIGHT OUT without twisting or turning it.  There may be some resistance as ticks secrete a cement- like substance that allows them a tight hold on the skin site of attachment.
  • Place the tick in a small jar and save to send to Igenex, Inc. for PCR/DNA testing of the tick for Lyme Disease.
  • NEVER squeeze or burn a tick.
  • NEVER use any ointments at the site of the tick bite.
  • Clean the tick bite site thoroughly with alcohol.
  • Phone your physician and make an appointment immediately.
  • Monitor the site of the tick bite and note any strange rashes.
  • Take a magic marker and draw an outline around the edge of the rash so the Lyme Literate physician can see the extent of the rash. The marker won't wear off in a shower if you have to wait to see the physician.
  • Take a picture of the rash with your camera, and bring the camera with you to the doctor's office so that if the rash fades, the physician can still assess it.
  • Rashes can also occur on the body other than at the site of the tick bite so make note of these as well.
  • Fleas, mosquitoes, sand flies, and probably any biting insect may also transmit Lyme Disease, so if you have suspicious swelling after an insect bite, take a picture of it and bring that picture to a Lyme Literate doctor's office.

Just know though, that when they test the tick, they only test for like ONE strain of Lyme Disease, and there are over 100. So it's pretty unreliable. Also, if you can get your doctor to give you a round of antibiotics immediately, that would be ideal. Most doctors wont, but remind them that people get medication for acne and all sorts of things that aren't as serious as Lyme Disease. You really should get at least 8 weeks of antibiotics to get rid of it before having to have major long-term treatment.

How do you get treated for Lyme? There are many methods of treating Lyme disease, but what we personally believe is best is this: long term antibiotics and supplements. There is a lot of controversy on this topic, but from our experience so far, we feel like there's no way to get rid of it without antibiotics. You may make the Lyme dormant (which happened to Clay when he was treated naturally, then it came back full force), but to fully get symptom-free and in remission, you need antibiotics. It's really important to be treated by a Lyme Literate Doctor who knows what they are doing. It's such a smart disease. The other major way to treat Lyme is diet change. Lyme feeds off of sugar and gluten, so those are big no-no's when diagnosed.

Why don't more people know about this? For a number of reasons. But mostly, people just don't understand this disease, especially doctors. There are only a handful of doctors in the entire nation that are qualified to treat this disease, which is why it is so often misdiagnosed. Also, because of political/financial ties to insurance companies and people in the infectious disease board, truth has been covered up and denied. If you want to learn more about this, watch "Under our Skin", a documentary, or just google it. And again, people think this can only come from ticks, but like I said, it can come from a number of things. So if someone never found a tick on them, they think there's no possibility, but there is.

What can I do to help? TALK. Communicate to people who you think may have it. Talk to people about me and Clay! Tell people what you know about Lyme Disease, and DON'T back down to doctors. Share this link with people. Most people don't understand ticks and Lyme.

What do I do if I think I have Lyme Disease? Find a Lyme Literate Doctor. Email me if you want to know who I see. Get TESTED by Igenex Labs. If you have been tested before by a different lab company, get tested again with Igenex. They are the best at testing Lyme. Because Lyme is so smart (really it is), it's very hard to find and diagnose. Igenex is TRAINED to recognize Lyme and know the things to look for.

Lyme Disease is serious. It kills people. It destroys lives. I'm not being dramatic here, it's the truth! This is why I want so badly for more people to know about it, because it can be PREVENTED. I hope so badly that I can help people to NOT have to go through what Clay and I have gone through these past couple years...not to mention the pain involved before treatment. It's hard. Really hard. So be smart, be aware, and be careful. Don't let doctors bully you into thinking it's impossible for someone to have it where you live. Demand a test, and tell them if they don't help then you'll find someone else.

If you or someone you know thinks they have Lyme, or you have Lyme and have questions, or need someone understanding, please feel free to email me at daniellephillipp (@) gmail (dot) com.

If you have any more questions about Lyme, feel free to comment and I can always add more to this. I just wanted to cover the general things most people talk about and don't understand. 


Cami said...

There are so many scary things in life these days that makes people sick. Maybe they were always around, but people thought they were simply natural. It's so sad that doctors are ignorant to lymes disease. I know not all are, but it's too bad. I told you I had it once, and at the time, Idaho was "one of those states." I had the nice bulls-eye rash. Eww it's so gross ever since then I think rashes and other deformities are sick. I hope things are finally looking up for you guys! Grr! Stupid disease!

Megan and Greg said...

This was a good little sum up. Easy to understand and straight to the point. Very nice. I'm going to email this to my sister in law. I love you.

Jenni said...

I really appreciate all of your awareness. We go camping in the summers and I am going to be extra cautious and stay covered up and make sure Harlow is too. Thanks for the info, Danielle!

Grandma, Nonnie said...

I am so glad you are so helpful and keep us informed of this disease. I have wondered if I contacted it yrs. ago? Love you so much

Lara said...

My husband and father in law have had candida for years. candida can mimic Lyme disease to a tee, candida is in most cases caused by antibiotics used without supplementing probiotics. Makes me wonder if people who think they have one really have the other... Thanks for the information :)

Aliese the Writer said...

That was amazing. You are so good at talking about lyme and knowing all the answers about it. I mean, obviously, because you have it, but you are being so amazing about telling everyone about it. I love you so much and am so glad that you are getting treated for this. :)

Shannon said...

Hey, so I thought that another way to get is it by contact with an infected person's body fluids but the CDC website says that it is ONLY transmitted through tick bites. Is this true? Where do I go to find out more about how it is transmitted?

BTW, I love your skirt. I tried the headband tute, but it doesn't look good with my short hair.