You may not be aware of Lyme Disease when you live in the Inland Northwest, but I guarantee you some people in the Spokane area have Lyme Disease. Diagnoses of Lyme is happening all over the world. Yet, there is still a problem with conventional medicine acknowledging Lyme Disease and/or Chronic Lyme. The CDC states there are 300,000 new cases each year in the United States. We have seen estimates that are 10x higher in some literature. Physicians were trained to look for a bulls-eye rash on patients presenting to the office with tick bites. The problem with this observation is fewer than 50% of patients have a bulls-eye rash after a bite. A lot of patients do not even remember being bit by a tick. Physicians have also been trained that only certain areas of the country like the Northeast have ticks infected with Borrelia. In today's world with people traveling and moving by planes, trains, and automobiles with their beloved belongings and furry best friends this seems outdated. The conventional thought on Lyme is once you have been bitten and presented with a bulls-eye rash, or tested positive a round of antibiotics is the cure. This is just not true for people with Chronic Lyme Disease. Approximately 40% of Lyme patients end up with long-term health problems.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Migratory Joint Pain
Numbness & Tingling
Vision & Hearing Changes
Chronic Lyme Disease
A lot of people suffering from Chronic Lyme Disease do not even know they have it. Two huge factors play in here. The accuracy of testing is poor. Laboratories often produce a lot of false negatives. People go on with their lives trusting the lab was correct. The spirochete that causes Lyme Disease can cause harm to any part of your body. Lyme Disease mimics a lot of other diseases which means they do not ever get the correct diagnosis. Yes, people that have been diagnosed with Alzheimers, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Mental Health Disorder may in fact have Lyme Disease.
Prevention of Lyme Disease
When walking in the woods or tall grass wear long pants. It is best to wear high socks and tuck your pant legs into the sock. We recommend that you use a tick repellant spray while in areas with tick problems. The chemical based insecticides like DEET have been popular, however much safer essential oil based products are available. We recommend adults using Keys OmniShield which is actually a nontoxic product made for dogs. They have a product called ForceX for humans as well. There are other companies on the market making essential oil/NEEM/Karanja Oil as well. It is important to do a tick check of your entire body including your head after being outside. We recommend taking a shower following your tick check.
Should I be worried if I was bit by a tick?
We recommend contacting Rivercreek Wellness or your primary care doctor immediately. Doxycycline is an antibiotic that may be given for prophylaxis treatment in children over 8 years old and adults for 20 days or more. Children under 8 years old will need a different type of antibiotic. If you choose to not take antibiotics then you need to be knowledgeable of all of the possible symptoms. We are seeing a lot of patients that were denied antibiotics because the physician stated Lyme does not exist in the area of where they were bit. This simply is not true, an infected black-legged deer tick can be any where. We recommend saving the tick that was on your body and sending to IgeneX Laboratory for testing.
If you are experiencing chronic health complaints with multiple symptoms then ruling out a tick-borne illness may be of benefit. On an initial visit, Dr. Julie George will ask you a lot of questions. We can also give you a Lyme Survey to see how at risk you may be of having Lyme. When needed will recommend the highest quality testing available. Lyme physicians often diagnose through clinical assessment when testing is indeterminate.
Testing for Lyme Disease
There are many testing options available for testing for Lyme Disease and it's co-infectors. I recommend using the company IgeneX for testing. IgeneX is a lab that is dedicated to diagnosing Lyme disease. Patients can also run a ImmunoBlot, Western Blot or PCR through a standard lab, however it may not be as sensitive. Patients can get false negatives before they receive a positive test. The CDC requires 5 bands to be positive, and has not updated testing requirements. IgeneX requires 2 or more bands to be determined a positive test. If you are symptomatic and testing IgeneX positive then it may be worth seeking treatment.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes. This article is not intended to diagnose or treat your health conditions.