There is an unacknowledged epidemic occurring around the world. Lyme disease is the fasted growing infectious disease and most common vector-borne illness in Canada and United States. It is often misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly known as the “deer tick”. The infected ticks can also carry many other bacteria.
The shared experiences of those who have been misdiagnosed are featured in the news daily. Clinically only 20% of those bitten by a tick present the classic bulls eye rash therefore prevention is key. Children and adolescents are at a higher risk for getting Lyme disease because they spend more time in areas where they might encounter a tick bite. When Lyme disease is misdiagnosed and goes untreated in children, it has a profound, devastating impact on a child’s well being. Pediatric presentations are acute personality changes or regression (literally over a weekend), anxiety, OCD, rage or excessive emotional reactions.
Top 5 tick habitat precautions:
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting inside your pants.
- Apply insect repellent to your skin and clothing, especially at the openings such as ankles, wrists and neck.
- Check your clothes for ticks often. Ticks will climb upwards until they find an area of exposed skin.
- Wear light coloured clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.
- When walking on path ways or trails stay in the center. Avoid low-lying brush or long grass. Do a full body check when home and throw your clothes right into the dryer for 15 minutes, not the washer where ticks will survive. Ticks are very susceptible to dry heat.
Safe tick removal methods Tick Removal Tool/Kit … to order Tick Kit for Proper Removal and for more removal methods go to Canlyme.com.
If you already have a pair of fine pointed tweezers, and a steady hand, you can grasp the mouthparts of the tick, NOT the body of the tick, and slowly pull the tick straight out. Do not use any other methods, such as lavender oil. There are reports of the tick releasing all the toxins into skin as its head comes out.
After a tick has been removed, it’s important to wash the bite site using soap and water, followed with an antiseptic. If the tick that bit you is a Lyme-carrying species, don’t wait to develop symptoms. Go to your doctor and request antibiotics as a precaution.
For Lyme support supplements visit lymeproducts.ca and for further Lyme Disease information visit www.canlyme.com
Maria Musitano, B.Sc.Pharm,
Concession Medical Pharmacy firstname.lastname@example.org