Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lyme Disease

Dear Friends,

Whether you are hanging out in the backyard or camping in pristine wilderness, Lyme disease is a serious concern.

Lyme disease is spread by nymphal ticks no bigger than a speck of pepper. Ticks travel from animal to animal, feeding off blood. The bites can be painless and leave only a tiny mark that doesn’t last very long. 

As stated in a recent document by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, ticks on Vancouver Island may infect people with Lyme disease and the consequences can be very serious.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada:
The symptoms of Lyme disease usually happen in three stages, although not all patients have every symptom. The first sign of infection is usually a circular rash. This rash occurs in about 70-80 percent of infected people. It begins at the site of the tick bite after a delay of three days to one month.

Other common symptoms include:
  • fatigue
  • chills
  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle and joint pain
  • swollen lymph nodes
If untreated, the second stage of the disease can last up to several months and include:
  • central and peripheral nervous system disorders
  • multiple skin rashes
  • arthritis and arthritic symptoms
  • heart palpitations
  • extreme fatigue and general weakness

It sounds serious, and it is. But it is also easily preventable, and if promptly diagnosed, it is easily treatable, too.

Here are a few tips from the BC Centre for Disease Control:
  • Walk on cleared trails wherever possible when walking in tall grass or woods.
  • Wear light coloured clothing, tuck your top into your pants and tuck your pants into your boots or socks.
  • Put insect repellent containing DEET on all uncovered skin.
  • Check clothing and scalp (covered or not) when leaving an area where ticks may live.
Lyme disease is North America’s fastest rising infectious disease. It’s utterly debilitating if not detected and treated quickly with antibiotics.

If detected early, Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics in a matter of weeks. When in doubt, see a doctor – and make sure she tests for Lyme disease if your symptoms fit the above profile.

I am close to several people who suffer from Lyme disease. I know how brutal this disease can be. Thank you for reading.


For more information: