Be Prepared For Your Doctor Visit
You can improve your chances of having an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment by providing your doctor with as much information as you can from the very start. The following checklist can be a good reminder of what to bring and discuss with your physician at your first visit:
- Have the tick tested and/or identified:If you were able to remove or find the tick that bit you, seal it in a glass or plastic container and consider sending it to IGeneX for testing. Additionally, photograph the tick and/or have the species identified ahead of time if possible. Knowing what kind of tick bit you and, in particular, whether it has tested positive for a tick-borne disease can be extremely helpful for your doctors diagnostic process. If the tick is still being tested when you see your doctor, you still may be able to start treatment based on the severity of your symptoms.
- Note possible exposure: Write down the places and dates that you believe you were exposed to ticksand the possible date and time of day when the engorged tick attached and fell off or was removed.
- Track your symptoms: Keep a running log of all symptoms youve noticed since the tick bite, even if youre no longer experiencing them. Be sure to include the days/times when symptoms appeared . For additional help, you can use IGeneXs Symptom Checker.
- Take pictures: Take pictures of any rashes or blisters that you may have noticed at the site of the tick bite or elsewhere on your body.
Freeport Doctor Starts Online Clinic To Fend Off Lyme Disease
The option is a way for Maine patients to have a tick bite evaluated for potential risk within 48 hours of the bite.
FREEPORT After working in urgent care for almost a decade, Catherine Lockwood, a Freeport-based doctor, is taking a step back to focus on treating a problem she has seen all too frequently: Lyme disease.
Maine has the highest concentration of people with Lyme disease by population, according to the Center for Disease Control. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services reported that last year over 1,400 patients were diagnosed with the disease.
According to Griffin Dill, director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick Lab, tick season is at its height through October and November.
Lockwoods new online clinic, treatmytickbite.com is a way for Maine patients to have a tick bite evaluated for potential risk within 48 hours of the bite and serves as a quick option to get on a round of preventative antibiotics if they are unable to get to the doctor immediately.
We are focusing on very early prevention, Lockwood said. Theres evidence that says if we get antibiotics early, a blast dose early can cut Lyme disease cases down by 85%.
The website, which uses video connection and photos to allow Lockwood to consult with a patient to hear about the event, see the bite area and possibly identify the type of tick, is not meant to help diagnose anyone with Lyme disease.
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Dying Before Their Eyes
At one horrific point, when their daughter seemed actually to be dying before their eyes, her parents took her to the emergency room and insisted, for the umpteenth time, that she be tested for Lyme disease. This time the doctors ordered the test.
Elizabeth was CDC positive for Lyme disease.
According to Kerry, they handed her some doxycycline and said: Have her take the medicine and shell be fine.
Except, her mom said, Elizabeth wasnt fine. The medicine made her sicker, but they said there were no alternatives. After two rounds of antibiotics, they declared her all better. She was far from better.
Cdc: Lyme Cases Ten Times Higher Than Previously Reported
PORTLAND, Maine A new federal study shows that cases of tick-borne illness across the country are ten times higher than what experts thought previously.
The U.S. CDC now estimates that many as 476,000 people come down with Lyme every year, instead of around 35,000 cases.
Maine has the highest incidence rate of Lyme disease in the nation.
In 2019, 2,079 cases of Lyme Disease reported to the Maine CDC. In 2020, there were 1,078 cases.
Dr. Sean McCloy treats patients for Lyme disease and tick-borne infections at Integrated Health Center of Maine. He isn’t surprised that a new CDC study shows that nearly half of a million people in the U.S. have Lyme.
“This was a better way of accurately reflecting what’s going on out there in the real world,” McCloy said.
The previous number 35,000 to 40,000 cases annually was based on positive Lyme tests.
The new estimate comes after an extensive review of billing codes on insurance claims from 2010 to 2018.
The data was expanded to include uninsured patients, people 65 and older, people given antibiotic medication, and patients who had but were never treated for it.
“The tests are not always accurate and clinicians are treating their patients for Lyme if they strongly suspect based off their symptoms,” McCloy said.
Elizabeth Nelson suffered from debilitating pain, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms before finally being diagnosed of Lyme disease ten years ago.
for information on Lyme disease and tick-borne illness from the U.S. CDC.
Recommended Reading: Fda Approved Lyme Disease Test
Potential Barriers To Accepting A Lyme Disease Vaccine
Welcome to another Inside Lyme Podcast with your host Dr. Daniel Cameron. In this episode, Dr. Cameron discusses the potential barriers to the public’s acceptance and utilization of a Lyme disease vaccine. By Dr. Daniel Cameron The study, Understanding consumer and clinician perceptions of a potential Lyme disease vaccine, was published by Devchand and colleagues in the journal Health Education Research.¹ It has been two decades since the LYMErix vaccine
Call Ahead And Ask Questions
Even if you find a doctor who specializes in treating tick-borne diseases, you will want to ask some questions before making an appointment and committing your time and money. A few basic questions to consider asking upfront include the following:
- What is your experience in treating patients with tick-borne diseases?
- How do you diagnose diseases? Do you use any specific labs or lab tests to confirm diagnosis?
- Do you test for coinfections?
- Do you use traditional antibiotics and/or herbals?
- Do you have any patient success stories you can share?
- Do you strictly adhere to CDC test interpretation criteria or are you open to alternative criteria?
If youd like to find a LLMD and want to know more about how to vet them, read the Tick Talk blog, What Makes a Doctor Lyme Literate?
Recommended Reading: What Medication Treats Lyme Disease
How To Approach Your Non
For various reasons, you may choose to consult with a doctor who doesnt specialize in Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases.
If so, be sure to be as proactive as possible in providing information that could help in diagnosing your disease, and always feel free to share resources that you find in your own research to prompt discussions about any aspect of your diagnosis or treatment, including more advanced testing options.
If your doctor does not believe Lyme disease exists, reach out to another doctor for a second opinion.
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How Do You Safely Remove A Tick
Remove attached ticks quickly and correctly using the following instructions:
Use fine-tipped tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.6
Pull upward with a steady and even amount of pressure.6
After the tick has been removed, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands using warm soap and water.6
Dispose of a live tick by submerging it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, or flushing it down the toilet.6
If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor immediately.
Lyme disease is a serious and prevalent disease in the state of Maine. Please take care to thoroughly check yourself and your loved ones for ticks after spending time outside, particularly during the summer months.
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Do Your Research And Get Referrals
You can learn a lot just by researching doctors and reading patient reviews online. You can also connect with other patients through local and online support groups for various tick-borne diseases. Asking other patients to recommend or share their own experiences with different doctors can be particularly helpful when youre trying to locate and learn about physicians who specialize in various tick-borne illnesses.
The following sites can connect you to online support-group forums or help you identify different tick-borne support groups in the United States:
Lyme Disease And Traditional Chinese Medicine
Naturally, this would be my favorite topic to write about when exploring approaches to treating Lyme. However, its already been done in such an eloquent and informative manner that Im simply going to share with you an incredible piece on treating Lyme disease with Traditional Chinese Medicine. See it here.
If that resonated with you, see here, too.
Our most-often used brand for treating Lyme and co-infections are Classical Pearls. We have a variety of Pearls in stock at all times, but our most used are Lightening, Thunder, and Bamboo Pearls.
Of note, Andrew Weil suggests that patients seek out a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine if they suspect chronic Lyme.
Read Also: How Does Lyme Disease Affect The Brain
More Ticks Test Positive For Lyme Disease In Maine
PORTLAND, Maine The University of Maines tick lab found that a higher percentage of ticks tested positive for the pathogen that causes Lyme disease last year than the previous year.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick Lab said recently that the rate of infection for Lyme disease grew by almost 6%.
The 2021 rate was a little more than 42% while a year prior it was just under 37%.
The lab says infection rates for anaplasma and babesia, which are other pathogens carried by ticks, also increased by a few percentage points.
Few Resources In State Of Maine
At that point, there were few, if any, doctors in their home state of Maine that knew anything about treating Lyme disease. They finally found a Lyme-literate doctor an hour and a half away from their home. In addition to Lyme, he found that Elizabeth had five co-infections.
Says Kerry: We have no doubt that, had we not advocated for ourselves, learned everything we could, and insisted on getting help, our daughter would be dead!
Eight years later, Elizabeth is still in treatment. But theres much more to the story than that.
About three years ago, Kerry says, their daughter sat us down and told us we should both get tested. We were so busy trying to take care of her and trying to get her the proper medical care that we were ignoring our own situations.
Also Check: What Is The Treatment For Lyme Disease
Some Nova Scotians Heading To Maine For Lyme Disease Treatments
A doctor in Maine says he’s seeing an influx of patients from the Maritimes.
Dr. Richard Dubocq, who practices in Albion — about a two-and-a-half hour drive from the border crossing at Saint Stephen, N.B. — specializes in the treatment of Lyme disease.
He told NEWS 95.7’s The Rick Howe Show Nova Scotia follows treatment guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America , while he follows the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society recommendations.
The ILADS method is not widely accepted in the North American medical community.
“They have different perspectives on the diagnosis and management of Lyme and my experience has been the ILADS guidelines have been far superior,” he said.
Dubocq said the main difference between the two is the IDSA method involves a 30-day maximum antibiotic treatment for Lyme, followed by medications for symptoms like pain and fatigue.
“The ILADS method is you use long-term antibiotics and these symptoms that they’ve been told are permanent can actually be resolved.”
He said treating the infection for a minimum of a year with multiple antibiotics has resulted in a clear improvement in many of his patients.
Dubocq believes Lyme disease is under-reported and there are many people who aren’t being correctly diagnosed.
The province’s chief medical officer of health disagrees.
“Relying on such protocols carries a significant risk of patients missing an opportunity for their symptoms to be appropriately diagnosed.”
Internal Medicine & Functional Medicine Specialist Located In Thomaston Ct
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose and treat. Pamela Cipriano, DNP, APRN, of The Practice of Health and Wellness in Thomaston, Connecticut, is well aware of this diseases complications caused by a simple tick bite and how to correctly identify a long-term infection and to manage the debilitating symptoms. If you think that you have Lyme disease or have symptoms like fatigue, joint problems, and weakness that cant be diagnosed, contact The Practice of Health and Wellness for an appointment. Call or use the online tool to schedule.
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Lyme Disease: Treatment Options & Resources
Since I practice Traditional Chinese Medicine, my knowledge regarding treating Lyme disease is rooted within the world of acupuncture and herbal medicine. And though Ive read a fair amount about the subject, I cant say I have a nuanced understanding of the antibiotic approach to treating acute or chronic Lyme. Prescribing antibiotics isnt something I do.
I have, however, worked with multitudes of patients who were/are undergoing treatment for chronic Lyme, and Ive often been part of that treatment through prescribing herbs and providing acupuncture. Most often, if a patient comes to see me for herbs, its because the antibiotics havent worked for them.
Though Ive already written about this in previous posts, this bears repeating: The conventional approach to treating acute Lyme is controversial. From the blog of Kristen McElveen, a local ND who treats Lyme and chronic Lyme:
Currently, the ILADS recommendation for acute Lyme is a minimum of 6-8 weeks of antimicrobial therapy, while the IDSA/CDC is now even recommending 14-21 days. Unfortunately, many doctors are still only prescribing a single dose of doxycycline, or up to a weeks worth, which is not sufficient treatment, even from an IDSA/CDC standpoint.
And dont forget our community acupuncture clinic, where you can receive acupuncture for $30 a session.
Us Cdc: Lyme Disease Much More Widespread Than Previously Thought
A recent report from the National Center for Disease Control indicates Lyme disease is 10 times more prevalent than previously thought. But the findings come as no surprise to Maine doctors and the state CDC.
The Maine CDC first included the likelihood that Lyme cases were being well underreported in its 2014 Lyme Disease report to the state Legislature and in subsequent reports. Maine is one of the states with the most identified number of Lyme cases.
Dr. Robert Smith, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases for Maine Medical Center, says the increase has been part of a steady trend.
This is a phenomenon that is important and that weve been monitoring for some time, and its certainly worthy of continued attention and public awareness, he says.
Smith says Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses can also just be hard to identify.
And they can provide challenges to clinicians because of the different manifestations, the different ways they can cause illness early on in patients, he says.
Smith says this past year was an anomaly. Physicians received fewer patients with Lyme in 2020 than previous years, despite the pandemic spurring a spike in outdoor activities. He attributes that decline to patients avoiding doctors visits during the pandemic and to a dry year with unfavorable conditions for ticks.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says almost half a million Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year.
Read Also: Lyme Disease How Is It Diagnosed
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease and any co-infections are extremely difficult to diagnose and treat. The symptoms can imitate those of other diseases. Many people never notice a tick or its bite. And the telltale bulls-eye rash associated with Lyme disease only shows up in 20% of affected people.
Symptoms associated with chronic Lyme disease include:
- Muscle pain
- Bells palsy
Lyme disease can also cause chills, fever, body aches, neck stiffness, headaches, and swollen lymph nodes soon after infection.
As A Community We Can:
1. Take local control of our primary health service.
2. Establish a patient-driven primary care practice model
3. Increase access and use primary health care services appropriately.
4. Make both individual and community-wide choices that will result in improved health status.
1. Get a higher percentage of the population into an ongoing relationship with a primary care provider.
2. Reduce perhaps by half the number of unnecessary Emergency Department and Urgent Care visits.
3. Achieve a demonstrable improvement in the health status of the community.
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