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7 Things You Should Keep in Mind If You Were Disgusted by That Poppyseed Muffin Tweet

Lately, on social media I have been seeing a lot of shared articles from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that consisted of a warning to the general public. It showed a poppyseed muffin, and the caption asking if viewers could spot the five ticks that could cause Lyme disease.

Responses varied, from disgust that their beloved breakfast is forever ruined, to those of gratitude for the eye opener.

I think this is the exact reaction that is necessary for the overall positive change that is taking place towards how Lyme disease (borrelia infections) and tick-borne infections are perceived by the general public.

Lyme disease and its co-infections (infections that are transmitted along with Lyme disease) are serious, and if given enough time and opportunity, will wreak havoc on your body.

Lyme disease and co-infections are devastating illnesses. I would know, because I have been battling them after going undiagnosed for several years. I would also know, because right now I am actually unable to walk, thanks to Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is transmitted by these tiny, evil little pests. They are not only difficult to see, as proved by the CDC’s post, but it is also difficult to detect once they’ve caused the infection.

Chances are, you know someone who has been affected by Lyme disease; some may be “all better now” and others may still be going through hell. No two cases of Lyme disease are alike. I am aware that there is a lot of controversy surrounding this disease. However, I am asking you to keep an open mind, as thousands upon thousands of patients are currently suffering from the detrimental and devastating long term effects of Lyme disease.

I am going to share some vital information on why we should be more concerned about Lyme disease. These are the facts that I, as well as many other Lymies, wish we knew prior to becoming sick with Lyme disease:

1. Not everyone develops the classic bullseye rash — the rash that is most commonly associated with a Lyme infection. According to the International Lyme disease and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), fewer than 50 percent of patients with Lyme disease recall a tick bite, and fewer than 50 percent of patients with Lyme disease developed the erythema migrans (“bullseye”) rash. Children also develop the rash less than 10 percent of the time.

2. Lyme disease is difficult to detect in blood because there are many different strains — particularly five subspecies of Borrelia burgdorferi, over 100 strains here in the United States alone, and 300 strains worldwide, according to ILADS.

3. Lyme disease is known as the “Great Imitator,” because its symptoms overlap and mimic a plethora of other illnesses, such as the following: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Guillian-Barre syndrome, Lou-Gehrig’s (ALS) disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, encephalitis/meningitis, depression, panic disorders, ADD, ADHD, thyroid problems, and the list goes on. This gives people a great chance of being misdiagnosed while making Lyme disease even more difficult to diagnose.

4. The spirochete causing Lyme disease infections is capable of changing shape (from a corkscrew shape, to L-form, to cystic form) even to building a cystic wall around itself whenever the spirochete’s environment is stressed (i.e., during antibiotic therapy), which can make antibiotic therapy ineffective. This means that antibiotic therapy needs to be able to break the cystic wall so the antibiotics can then terminate the spirochete bacteria.

This also means that diagnostic equipment has a difficult time detecting the bacteria. The CDC and IDSA recommends a two-tier testing protocol, the first consisting of the ELISA titer, and the second being the Western Blot. The ELISA is only capable of identifying a small percentage of infected patients, creating unreliable test results. The IDSA then states, if the ELISA test is positive, a Western Blot test should be performed.

Special labs, such as IGeneX, are used for a lot of tick-borne diagnostic testing, because they specialize in diagnosing tick-borne infections.

5. Because Lyme disease is so difficult to test for and easily misdiagnosed as other illnesses, it gives the potential for a chronic Lyme infection to develop. According to ILADS, “A preponderance of evidence indicates that active ongoing spirochetal infection with or without other tick-borne co-infections is the cause of persistent symptoms in chronic Lyme disease.” Leading to my sixth fact…

6.  This means that cases likely need more than one month of antibiotics. Along with co-infections, which will require separate treatments. According to ILADS, there has never been a study demonstrating that 30 days of antibiotic treatment cures chronic Lyme disease; however, U.S. and European medical literature demonstrates that short courses of antibiotic treatment fail to eradicate the Lyme spirochete. Short treatment courses have resulted in upwards of a 40 percent relapse rate, especially if treatment is delayed.

Long story short: find yourself a good Lyme literate medical doctor (LLMD), a doctor who is experienced with diagnosing and treating tick-borne illness.

7. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your furbabies! Wear light colored clothing, closed-toe shoes, hats, and bug spray when going outdoors. Be sure to keep your lawn cut, as ticks love to hangout in long grass. Do tick checks on yourself, your children, and on your pets.

The best way to protect yourself from Lyme disease is to take the blindfold off: Lyme disease is becoming a huge problem with more cases each year, and unfortunately according to many sources including the CDC, this year is going to be a very bad year for ticks. In the bigger picture, I applaud the CDC for creating a response that has woken up people to the dangers of these tiny, but mighty bugs. Lord knows I wish I had the warning before it was too late. Tick-borne illness does not discriminate, and we are all susceptible.

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