Lyme disease is not something that we talk about so much in South Carolina as it is much more prevalent in the Northeast, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. In fact, misdiagnosis is a terrible problem when it comes to Lyme so it’s hard to know what the true numbers are.
For example, the CDC states that approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme are reported to them yearly but they believe the true number is closer to 300,000. So when they say that between 2006 and 2016 there were 259 confirmed cases in South Carolina it makes you wonder what the real number is.
Diagnosing Lyme Disease is Difficult
If Lyme disease is diagnosed and treated quickly the effects are rarely lasting. There are tests that can detect the bacterium in the blood and sn antibiotics that will treat it. However, people often just don’t know they’ve been bitten.
Testing for Lyme disease later is much more difficult. It requires a DNA test that is expensive, rarely covered by insurance, and only given in a few labs across the country. Beyond testing, there are other difficulties. Once Lyme goes past early diagnosis and becomes more chronic in nature it tends to imitate other illnesses, such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis or chronic fatigue syndrome. Often physicians don’t even look for it because they simply don’t know enough about it.
Two Women Tell Their Chronic Lyme Stories
WSOC TV channel 9 news in Charlotte NC recently presented a several day segment about Lyme disease and early detection. They told the stories of two women whose lives have been forever changed because of chronic Lyme disease.
First, was the story of Laura Bebber of Rock Hill, SC. She made continued trips to the ER with shooting pains that she imagined could be a heart attack only to leave time and time again with no answers. It was after her own research about her headaches and fatigue that her doctor tested for Lyme and it came out positive. Bebber’s father had even had Lyme years before but her symptoms were so different she didn’t initially consider it.
Another segment tells the story of Patrice Johnson who was bitten by a tick at a jazz concert in Marshall park over 20 years ago. She had a rash by that very night and treated it for several days with cortisone. A few days later she began to have flu-like symptoms and it was then she went to a doctor and he treated her for a tick-borne illness. She assumed that once the antibiotics ran their course she would be fine. At first, she was, but over the last 20 years, Johnson has had one issue after another. Eventually, when she became so weak on the right side of her body that she couldn’t move, a naturopathic doctor suggested her issues could be from that tick bite so long ago. Johnson is at present on 50-100 pills a day to treat the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.
This is a lot of information and there is so much more we didn’t even get to so let’s summarize what we hope you take away from this.
- A: Don’t assume that Lyme is something you aren’t going to see in this part of the country. It may not happen as much as it does in the Northeast but it does happen.
- B: Diagnosis and treatment need to happen quickly when it comes to tick-borne illnesses. Don’t let symptoms go by and try to self-treat. If you’ve been outdoors and feel sick or get a rash, go to the doctor. And don’t be afraid to suggest they test for anything tick related. Ultimately your health is in your own hands.
- C: Protect yourself from ticks before they bite.
We really can’t emphasize this last part enough. You can’t get sick from tick bites you don’t have. Proper clothing, repellent, thorough tick checks… they are all something you simply can’t take for granted when you are out in areas that might have ticks. Now, what about at home? Is all this necessary? At Mosquito Squad of Greenville, we have a much better idea. Our tick control service will eliminate 85-90% of the adult ticks in your yard on contact and continue to keep them out of your yard all year long. You’ll never need to worry about what chronic Lyme disease could do to you if you don’t get bitten by ticks. We want to help you make sure that can’t happen at home. Call us today at (864) 362-2013 and we can schedule your first service of many.