How to prevent Lyme disease | NevadaAppeal.com

How to prevent Lyme disease

Judith Weeg

Lyme disease (Ld) is an excruciating illness caused by the bite of an infected tick, all species, even the dog tick. Additional insects can pass Ld to its human or house pet hosts such as biting flies, deer keds, mites, fleas, mosquitoes, and several species of spiders. The incidence of positive cases of Ld have increased in every county and state in the nation. In many states, a high number of deaths have been reported for misdiagnosed children, teens, adults, and the elderly. Ld has no age limit in its selection. It can also be passed from pregnant mother to the unborn baby.

How do you protect yourself from tick and other insect bites?

Let us start in the home. Pets often bring ticks, fleas, or other insects into the home on their fur. Place a reputable tick and flea collar on your pets. Ask your veterinarian to suggest a good tick collar for the family pet and make sure you question which collar would be most protective. Close the doors to your bedroom. Do not allow your pets to rest on the bed. Often, ticks are dropped from a pet and later attach to the children, parents, or grandparents beginning a journey into debilitating Ld.

Perform frequent, thorough tick checks — especially the scalp area.

Wear light colored clothing.

Tuck your pants into your socks or put duct tape around the cuffs.

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Put clothes into a dryer for 30 minutes to kill ticks — washing clothes will not kill ticks!

There are products containing Permethrin for (spraying) clothing. They are very effective for adults and recommended for hunters. Do not use these products on children.

Permethrin clothing is available in many stores or catalogues such as L. L. Bean. Pants, socks, shirts, and a variety of other clothing with Permethrin would be a great protector against ticks and many insects.

Consider using new DEET free repellents. BEAT IT bug spray is all natural and can be found at Walmart. Great for all ages and has been tested on ticks and insects in the Amazon.

Lisa, a 10-year-old girl, was having trouble in school. She could not concentrate, went into angry outbursts, and wept easily. Eventually her muscles and joints began to ache. Most recently, she had thrown an eraser at her teacher, prior to this she had been a model student. Lisa was taken to child psychiatrists and to her family practice physician. The doctors ran a series of tests on Lisa, even as far as having a Lyme test that was sent to the Mayo Clinic. It came back negative for Ld. By not being diagnosed with Ld early enough, many months were wasted on testing. During this time, Lisa would scream in pain, and was bedridden while her mother had to feed her.

Lisa's parents finally found a physician who understood symptoms of Ld and he gave Lisa a SPOT test from an Ld lab (Lab: 1-800-832-3200). The test came back positive. Lisa had to take a mixture of antibiotics for a year along with herbs and vitamins to boost her immune system. Eventually, she returned to school and her angry outbursts were eradicated. The teachers knew that she needed quiet and calm moments each day. They had a special "quiet area" near the guidance counselor's office where she could rest when needed. Many Ld patients are affected by bright lights, non-air conditioned rooms, and too much noise. Thanks to an understanding school, Lisa is going into the 7th grade with new teachers prepared for her condition while she continues to take her medication for a second year. Even the cafeteria got into the act. They knew that Lisa could only have gluten-free foods, no refined sugar in her diet, and sometimes no milk products. Ld patients develop many allergies, both with food and with airborne allergens like dust or perfumes.

I have heard that Lyme disease mimics other diseases, but which other diseases?

Many doctors misdiagnose other autoimmune diseases in patients. The following diagnoses should also include testing for Ld: MS; ALS; an array of mental disorders such as Schizophrenia, bi-polarism, severe depression, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Sarcoidosis, Lupus, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

What are the symptoms of early stage Ld?

Early stage Ld is curable. After symptoms of Ld, such as a bullseye rash or rashes that come and go, wait two weeks after the bite and have a SPOT test. Have your doctor order a kit at: 1-800-832-3200. Only one-third of the patients get a bullseye rash, or any rash.

Dave defines what happened to him after a mosquito bite:

"I was mowing my lawn and a mosquito landed on my arm. I was not quick enough and tried to push it away. It had a good meal on me. I started to feel flu-like and really nauseous the day after the bite. I had a headache that would not quit. I started to sweat. I looked at the bite on my arm. All I could think was that I had West Nile," says Dave. He continues, "My wife started to notice a red ring around the bite and wanted me to see my doctor. My doctor examined me for West Nile and gave me the SPOT test. I had to wait about a week and a half to get the tests back. I was sweating bullets. The results came back; I had Lyme disease. Doc put me on 200 mg. of Doxycycline twice a day for three months. He said I may even need to be on it for six months, but then I would be cured."

Dave could not be in the sun very long on his antibiotics or he would be severely sunburned. Also, he could not have dairy products the hour before or after taking the Doxycycline or the effect of the pill would be negated. Eventually, Dave recovered, but had to remain on the pills for a full six months.

What are the symptoms of late-stage Lyme disease?

Most Americans have late-stage Lyme disease. The CDC reports about 300,000 cases of positive Ld. The largest number of late-stage Ld occurs because the patients were misdiagnosed, by up to 30 doctors or more, over two years or more. By this point, the Borrelia B. (Ld) has gone into all cells in the body and often into the brain. Symptoms include: Continued flu-like symptoms; rashes that come and go; tremors or seizures; severe headaches; vomiting after eating; extreme fatigue to the point of needing several naps per day; extreme muscle and joint pain; trouble in sleeping through the night; eye disorders or photophobia; hearing disorders; Lyme carditis; A-fib, or other heart difficulties.

When the Ld crosses into the brain: lowered serotonin causes extreme depression, anxiety, OCD, and mimicry of established mental illness such as bi-polarism or schizophrenia. Rages occur in children and adults when the child or adult had been mild-mannered before Ld. Often POTS and PANDAS occur in about one-third of the Ld patients.

Note: Death can occur in late-stage Ld. Ld is a disease that needs better testing by mainstream doctors and correct treatment. It is not a mystery disease, it is here to stay, and it is not to be denied by doctors and medical staff. It is in every state in the nation including arid climates and cold climates. Ticks are a year round problem. They jut above snow in the winter and can attack hikers or hunters. The solution for chronic or late-stage Ld is an array of antibiotics and alternative care to build up the immune system. Following a gluten-free diet and having no refined sugar in the diet is imperative. However, to date there is no cure for Late-stage Ld.

Have fun in the sun, but be aware of possibilities of insect and tick bites. Do a tick check before a shower daily.

Judith Weeg has aided Ld patients for 25 years. She has received humanitarian awards for her work with patients. She was a former Health Educator with CDC. Questions on Ld: lymeinfo@lduc.org.