How To Cope With A Job When You Have Lyme Disease
A diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease can rattle the stability and security of every aspect of your life including your ability to work and maintain a job.
The myriad symptoms you may experience, such as chronic pain, profound fatigue, sleep issues, and brain fog, can make the tasks you used to breeze through with ease now seem like monumental efforts. On top of that, the pressure of pushing yourself to your limits can cause your Lyme symptoms to escalate, and you might begin to wonder if youre setting yourself up for a more serious health crisis in the future.
Between caring for your family, paying bills, the need for health insurance, and affording treatment costs, you might not be in a position to leave your job to focus solely on recovery. Many chronically ill patients need to continue their employment, but figuring out your options and the rights that you have to make working feasible can be tricky to navigate.
To make the most of working with Lyme disease, weve gathered six tips a mix of patient advice and resources to help you find the delicate balance between managing your job and healing your body.
Are There Any Risks To Lyme Disease Tests
There is very little risk to having a blood test or a lumbar puncture. If you had a blood test, you may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly. If you had a lumbar puncture, you may have pain or tenderness in your back where the needle was inserted. You may also get a headache after the procedure.
The Relationship Between Lyme And Mold
At CCFM, we also look at the relationship between tick-borne infections and toxic environmental exposures, including illnesses induced by toxic mold exposure. Exposure to mold in your living or work environment places a strain on your immune system, distracting it from its crucial task of targeting Borrelia burgdorferi and other infectious organisms. Identifying and treating mold-induced illness may be an essential, pivotal step in your healing journey. Our clinicians have extensive experience treating mold-induced illness and can help you navigate this confusing but crucial aspect of healing.
Check out our article The Link Between Mold Illness and Lyme Disease for more information on how toxic mold exposure interacts with Lyme disease, creating a perfect storm of inflammation, and how treating mold-induced illness can accelerate Lyme disease recovery.
Neuroplasticity is defined as the ability of the brain to form and reorganize the synaptic connections between neurons.41 A variety of neuroplasticity-based brain retraining programs, such as DNRS, have been extremely helpful for those recovering from Lyme disease.
To read more about how you can use brain retraining to aid your healing process, check out our article Neuroplasticity, Emotional Healing, and Chronic Illness.
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How To Prevent Dogs From Having Ticks
While it is healthy to bring your dog out often to play, keeping them indoors most of the time is still the best way to avoid ticks. After a fun walk outside, thoroughly check them for any signs of ticks or itching as the longer a tick stays attached to your dog, the higher risk of developing a disease.
Ticks attach to grass, shrubs, etc. and latch on to nearby animals so it would be best to maintain a clean environment to avoid harboring ticks.
What’s The Best Way To Prevent A Tick Bite
Ticks can’t fly or jump. But they live in shrubs and bushes and can grab onto you when you pass by. To avoid getting bitten:
- Wear pants and socks in areas with lots of trees and when you touch fallen leaves.
- Wear a tick repellent on your skin and clothing that has DEET, lemon oil, or eucalyptus.
- For even more protection, use the chemical permethrin on clothing and camping gear.
- Shower within 2 hours after coming inside. Look for ticks on your skin, and wash ticks out of your hair.
- Put your clothing and any exposed gear into a hot dryer to kill whatever pests might be on them.
How do you know if you’ve been bitten?
Since ticks are so small, you’ve got to have pretty good eyes to see them.
If you have a small, red bump on your skin that looks like a mosquito bite, it could be a tick bite. If it goes away in a few days, itâs not a problem. Remember, a tick bite doesnât necessarily mean you have Lyme disease.
If you notice a rash in the shape of a bull’s-eye, you might have a tick bite. Talk to your doctor about treatment.
If you have an allergic reaction to ticks, you’ll notice a bite right away.
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Applying For Disability Benefits
If you are living with Lyme disease and experiencing some of the severe complications of the disorder, it is advisable to apply for disability benefits and consult a disability lawyer. Ensure you provide your medical history, diagnosis of the illness, treatment history and a note from the doctor on the outlook of your ailment. It is important that you make a strong case for your disability by including how Lyme disease affects your body and the implication on your work performance.
What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.
Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.
2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.
You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.
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Has Niaid Looked At Whether Infection Persists After Antibiotic Therapy
Several recent studies suggest that B. burgdorferi may persist in animals after antibiotic therapy. In one study, NIAID-supported scientists found that remnants of B. burgdorferi remained in mice after antibiotic treatment. Another team of NIAID-supported investigators found that intact B. burgdorferi persist in nonhuman primates after antibiotic treatment. It was not possible to culture these bacteria and it is not clear whether they are infectious. More recent work by Hodzic et al. replicated the earlier finding of persisting DNA but non-cultivatable B. burgdorferi after antibiotic treatment using a mouse model. In 2017, scientists at the Tulane National Primate Research Centers, funded in part by an NIH research resources grant, reported evidence of persistent and metabolically active B. burgdorferi after antibiotic treatment in rhesus macaques.
In a first-of-its-kind study for Lyme disease, NIAID-supported researchers have used live, disease-free ticks to see if Lyme disease bacteria can be detected in people who continue to experience symptoms such as fatigue or arthritis after completing antibiotic therapy). This study remains underway.
Can You Get Over Lyme Disease Without Treatment
Does Lyme disease ever go away on its own? Some people may be able to clear the infection on their own without treatment, but it isnt recommended. This is because of the severe complications that can occur when it is left untreated. The infection can hide in the body for a while and then cause problems down the road.
Where Does Lyme Disease Occur In Ohio
Blacklegged ticks that carry Lyme disease are most commonly found in the eastern and southern areas of the state, but are likely to occur in suitable wooded habitat throughout most or all of Ohio. On the map below, each dot represents one case of Lyme disease and is placed randomly in the patient’s county of residence. The presence of a dot does not necessarily mean that the Lyme disease infection was acquired in Ohio. The place of residence can be different from the place where the patient became infected.
What Time Of Year Are Ohioans At Risk For Contracting Lyme Disease
In Ohio, cases of Lyme disease are reported in every month of the year. However, the number of reported cases is lowest in the winter, gradually rises in the spring, peaks in the summer, then declines through late summer and autumn.
It can take anywhere from three to 30 days from when the tick bite occurs to when symptoms of Lyme disease appear. Since most cases get sick in July and August, that means most cases are bitten by an infected blacklegged tick between June and July. Therefore, late spring through mid-summer is the time of year when Ohioans are most at risk for contracting Lyme disease.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Lyme Disease Treatments
Antibiotics, like all medications, have the potential for side effects. Any antibiotic can cause skin rashes, and if an itchy red rash develops while on antibiotics, a patient should see their physician. Sometimes symptoms worsen for the first few days on an antibiotic. This is called a Herxheimer reaction and occurs when the antibiotics start to kill the bacteria. In the first 24 to 48 hours, dead bacterial products stimulate the immune system to release inflammatory cytokines and chemokines that can cause increased fever and achiness. This should be transient and last no more than a day or two after the initiation of antibiotics.
The most common side effect of the penicillin antibiotics is diarrhea, and occasionally even serious cases caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. This bacterial overgrowth condition occurs because antibiotics kill the good bacteria in our gut. It can be helpful to use probiotics to restore the good bacteria and microbiome balance.
How Should A Tick Be Removed
Grasp the mouthparts with tweezers as close as possible to the attachment site. Be careful not to squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick, which may contain infectious fluids. Pull firmly and steadily upward to remove the tick. After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite site and wash hands. The NYSDOH has created a video on proper tick removal and a printable card with steps on how to remove ticks . See or call a doctor if there are concerns about incomplete tick removal. Do not attempt to remove ticks by using petroleum jelly, lit cigarettes or other home remedies because these may actually increase the chance of contracting a tick-borne disease.
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How Is Lyme Disease Transmitted
Ticks usually live in woods or tall grasslands in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Ticks can become infected with Borrelia burgdorferi by feeding on infected wild animals, and then can spread the bacteria when they feed on blood from the host. Ticks cannot fly – they hang onto small bushes or tall grasses and are usually found close to the ground. They wait for an animal or person to pass near them and when the animal or person makes contact, the ticks attach themselves to the skin to feed.
In North America, Lyme disease is transmitted mainly by two species of ticks:
- Blacklegged tick , Ixodes scapularis.
- Western blacklegged tick, Ixodes pacificus.
The Public Health Agency of Canada states that there no evidence that Lyme disease can spread from person-to-person. Pets, especially dogs, can get Lyme disease, but there is no evidence that pets can spread the infection directly to humans. They may, however, carry infected ticks into the home or yard which may increase the chance of transmission.
Who Is At Risk In Ohio
Anyone who spends time outdoors can be at risk for Lyme disease. The tick that transmits Lyme disease in Ohio, the blacklegged tick, is most often found in wooded, brushy areas. People who frequent these settings may be at increased risk of contracting Lyme disease.
However, it does not take a hike in the forest to encounter blacklegged ticks. The property around many homes can also provide suitable habitat for ticks, particularly those in yards that are next to woods or brushy areas or those with tall grass or leaf litter. That is why it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent tick bites.
Ohioans of all ages get sick with Lyme disease, but data collected by the Zoonotic Disease Program suggest that males are more at risk for Lyme disease than females. Boys between the ages of ten and 14 years appear to be at particularly high risk. Many cases of Lyme disease are reported in females between the ages of five and nine.
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What You Should Do Or Not Do When Working With Lyme Disease
First things first, you need to inform your employer about your condition. Working in secrecy will not be a good idea considering that some days you will be too tired or experience muscle aches. Let your employer know all the information about Lyme disease and what you are likely to go through. If you are under medication, you should also inform your boss and give a rough idea of possible complications you might experience.
Do not overexert yourself. When you are suffering from Lyme disease, you will find out that you cannot work like you would if you were not sick. So, whenever you feel like you are too tired to work, your concentration is shaky, your arms have a tingling sensation or numb, have a severe headache, take a minute and pause.
Since Lyme disease may result in chronic pain and arthritis, you need to find a way to manage the pain. You could take pain medication such as ibuprofen or try home remedies that help relieve joint pain and stiffness.
Give a copy of your diagnosis to your manager and human resources so they can familiarize themselves with the condition. This is an important step for you, as the patient, to work if you have Lyme disease. Furthermore, treatment of Lyme disease, especially in the late stage, can take a long period of time. During the phase which you are undergoing treatment, at least they will be aware of how much you can do or cannot do with regards to your state of health.
Efficacy Of The Vaccine
These vaccines are extremely safe and, in conjunction with tick removal and control, prevent B burgdorferi infection and clinical Lyme disease, including Lyme nephritis.
The anecdotal evidence for this fact is overwhelming, but it has also been shown prospectively in multiple controlled studies in experimental infection and in the field. Following are just a few of many examples of such evidence in the field.
- Levy showed excellent field efficacy of canine Lyme disease vaccination in 2003.10
- In 2010, Hebert and Eschner proved the efficacy of the Lyme disease prevention protocol, including vaccination in a large Rhode Island practice.11
- In a population of guide dogs in New York, implementation of strict tick control and mandatory Lyme disease vaccination regimen reduced the number of Lyme nephritis cases from approximately 10/year to less than 1/year over 7 years.12
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What Is Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Post Treatment Lyme Disease represents a research subset of patients who remain significantly ill 6 months or more following standard antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease. PTLD is characterized by a constellation of symptoms that includes severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, depression, and cognitive problems such as difficulty with short-term memory, speed of thinking, or multi-tasking. In the absence of a direct diagnostic biomarker blood test, PTLD has been difficult to define by physicians, and its existence has been controversial. However, our clinical research shows that meticulous patient evaluation when used alongside appropriate diagnostic testing can reliably identify patients with a history of previously treated Lyme disease who display the typical symptom patterns of PTLD.
What Does Lyme Bacteria Feed On
As carbohydrates, sugars, and lactose feed inflammation in terms of protein and inflammation, thered flags foods that feed inflammation and Lyme are sugar and flour. Weve gone gluten-free, dairy-free, or enrolled in other diets over the years. Although it may take more than one attempt, everyone is seeing success.
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What Abnormal Results Mean
A positive ELISA result is abnormal. This means antibodies were seen in your blood sample. But, this does not confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease. A positive ELISA result must be followed up with a Western blot test. Only a positive Western blot test can confirm the diagnosis of Lyme disease.
For many people, the ELISA test remains positive, even after they have been treated for Lyme disease and no longer have symptoms.
A positive ELISA test may also occur with certain diseases not related to Lyme disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia too.
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Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs several weeks to months after the tick bite.
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell, and a rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.