May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Public awareness of deer ticks and the symptoms of Lyme disease has been instrumental in combatting long-term health consequences related to Lyme. In the North Shore of Massachusetts, awareness along with epidemic levels of Lyme disease in the area has us all too familiar with the potentially devastating illness.
While you likely know someone afflicted with Lyme disease, you may not quite understand how devastating it can really be for someone who suffers from chronic Lyme. There are many complicated factors that can lead a person to suffer from chronic Lyme vs. those who are successfully treated and never have another issue. Miss-identifying symptoms, delaying diagnosis and unreliable testing can lead to a delay in treatment and an increased chance for chronic Lyme.
The Trouble with Lyme Diagnostics
Lyme disease symptoms are also the symptoms of a variety of other illnesses. If you don’t notice a tick bite, and 50% don’t, it can be a huge road bump in diagnosing Lyme. While the stereotypical bulls-eye rash seems obvious, fewer than 50% of Lyme patients recall any rash. If you’re lucky enough to suspect Lyme or have a doctor who suspects Lyme, the next hurdle is diagnosing Lyme disease. The most common diagnostic tool misses 35% of culture proven Lyme disease and some studies indicate up to a 50% rate of false negatives. While some doctors may prescribe antibiotic treatment, many times another type of illness is suspected, delaying treatment.
The Trouble with Delayed Lyme Treatment
When Lyme disease is mistaken for other illnesses, it can delay proper treatment. By the time it becomes evident that the illness is in actuality Lyme disease, the bacteria may have already entered the central nervous system, making it much more difficult to cure. The average Lyme patient spends two years seeing five doctors before getting the correct diagnosis. These patients spend these two years suffering the side effects of chronic Lyme disease, many times unable to work.
What is Chronic Lyme Disease?
Chronic Lyme disease is known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) according to the CDC. PTLDS can occur in patients who don’t receive treatment, receive delayed treatment and even those who receive what is thought to be a timely antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease. Patients describe fatigue, muscle pain and joint pain that can linger for up to 6 months. Sometimes the symptoms are so severe; patients have difficulty functioning and working. The cause of PTLDS or chronic Lyme is not known, many medical experts believe the symptoms are caused by residual damage to tissues and the immune system during infection. No treatment has proven to be effective in curing chronic Lyme, but symptoms can be managed better with a doctor’s help and will go away over time.
Prevention is always the best cure when it comes to debilitating illnesses like Lyme disease. At Mosquito Squad of the North Shore, we are proud to offer assistance with tick control for your home and property. Our Intensive Tick Treatment includes our traditional barrier spray that eliminates 85-90% of ticks on contact and our tick tubes, placed twice per year which interrupts the tick life cycle by eliminating larva and nymph ticks nesting with rodents. Add an extra layer of Lyme protection for your family, call today! 978-887-1177