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New York Times Lyme Disease


How To Remove Ticks

How to protect your family against ticks

If you find an embedded tick, Dr. Hinckley and Dr. Mather recommended removing it with fine-tipped tweezers. Theyre very good at grasping really close to the skin, Dr. Hinckley said. Dr. Mather likes TickEase tweezers, which have different tips on each end: One with a thin tip for removing small ticks, and a slotted end for removing larger ones.

With your tweezers, grasp as close to the head of the tick as possible and pull upward with a steady motion. Dont twist or jerk the tick, because that could cause its mouth parts to break off and remain in your skin. If this happens, try to remove as much of the mouth parts as you can with your tweezers without damaging the skin.

Afterward, clean the bite area and tweezers with rubbing alcohol or soap and water, Dr. Hinckley said. You can flush the tick down the toilet or, better yet, drop it in rubbing alcohol or in a sealed Ziploc bag, where it will desiccate and die. Its a good idea to save the tick in case you want to bring it somewhere to be identified or if you later develop symptoms.

Dr. Hinckley warned against the folk remedies of removing ticks with petroleum jelly or lit matches, which can be ineffective and unsafe.

What Its Like To Live With Lyme Disease

Nov. 1, 2021 — From the very first page of Ross Douthatâs new memoir, The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery, itâs easy to feel like youâre in the room with The New York Times columnist as he details his very painful 5-year battle with chronic Lyme disease.

Douthatâs journey began in the summer of 2015 when he moved with his family from Washington, DC, to a farmhouse in Connecticut. Thatâs when he first acquired a mysterious sickness that left him wracked with pain and started his mission to figure out how to get well.

Douthatâs vivid descriptions of the myriad traditional and alternative medicine treatments he tries and the doctors and patients he meets along the way is a must-read for anyone with a chronic disease, in this case Lyme, which affects 476,000 Americans every year, according to the CDC.

WebMD sat down with Douthat to find out a little bit more about his journey and what he recommends to anyone with Lyme:

WebMD: Your book is, at times, tough to read. You donât shy away from sharing how much pain you were in, especially the first 2 years of your illness.

Douthat: At least one reviewer has said the book is harrowing. What I tell people is that itâs harrowing, but itâs also a page turner. Itâs not a difficult read and the story ultimately offers various kinds of hope and optimism. Thereâs also spiritual and psychological elements woven in that are helpful. In that sense, you can expect more than just a harrowing experience.

The Challenge Of Diagnosing Lyme Disease

The biggest problem is that there is no way to test, unequivocally, for the presence of the bacteria that cause the disease.

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By Perri Klass, M.D.

Lyme disease is on the rise. The 30,000 cases reported annually to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by state health departments represent only a fraction of the cases diagnosed and treated around the country. About half the cases occur in people under the age of 21, and boys from 5 to 9 years old are the most commonly affected group, possibly because they spend a good deal of time outdoors.

A recent article in The New York Times about a child who was treated for Lyme disease and did well, offering a reassuring message about relatively straightforward cases of the infection, drew more than 700 reader comments, many of them angrily denouncing the author and predicting medical complications to come for her son. Some responses reflect the frustrations of people who feel they have struggled for years with persistent and recalcitrant symptoms from the infection.

The condition can be challenging to treat, in part because it is not always easy to get the diagnosis right the first time around. The biggest problem is that there is no reliable biomarker for Lyme, no way to test, unequivocally, for the presence of the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi,which are transmitted by tick bite and cause the disease.

And the increase in Lyme should remind us that ticks can carry other infections as well.

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When To Worry About A Tick Bite

If youve been bitten by a tick that could cause illness, monitor for flulike symptoms in the days and weeks following the bite, including for fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. Lyme often, but not always, causes a classic, red, target-shaped rash that can develop three to 30 days after the bite. Southern tick-associated rash illness, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and tularemia can also cause rashes.

If you develop any of these symptoms, contact a health care provider, who might prescribe antibiotics or give you a Lyme test.

Many people who contract Lyme never noticed a tick bite, in part because ticks quietly fall off when they are done feeding. If you live in an endemic area and its spring or summer, Dr. Marcos said, any patient with a flulike syndrome should be checked for Lyme disease.

Melinda Wenner Moyer is the author of a forthcoming book on science-based parenting and writes a free parenting newsletter.

Produced by Jaspal Riyait and Sarah Williamson. Illustrations by Melinda Josie.

Lyme Disease Season Is Here These Are Tips On How To Avoid It

Fighting the Competition for Funds to Fight Lyme Disease ...

The basic symptoms mirror Covid-19, and thats a worry nobody needs. Plus, a serious illness like Lyme could put you at greater risk from Covid.

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As if we all needed another health concern, Lyme disease season has arrived.

A walk in the woods might be an appealing way to relieve stress from the coronavirus lockdown, but it comes with an underappreciated risk: Ticks that carry Lyme and other illnesses.

Some of the basic symptoms of a Lyme infection fever, malaise, fatigue can resemble Covid-19. Thats a worry nobody needs. In addition, contracting a serious illness like Lyme could put you at greater risk from Covid.

We already know people with underlying conditions are more vulnerable for complications with coronavirus, said Shannon L. Delaney, a neuropsychiatrist and director of child and adolescent evaluation at Columbia Universitys Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center. Certainly, people with tick-borne illness fall into that category.

Fortunately, you dont have to skip that walk in the forest. Understanding Lyme disease can help you to minimize your risk.

Cases are also found in states outside these hot spots, including in California, Texas and Florida, but numbers there remain comparatively low.

When? Is it above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or roughly 7 Celsius? If so, ticks will be out. Climate change, by the way, is making the onset of Lyme season earlier each year, and making the season last longer.

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He Passed Out Three Times In 10 Days What Was Wrong

Could all this really be a result of a urinary-tract infection?

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By Lisa Sanders, M.D.

The 75-year-old man lay sprawled on the floor between the kitchen counter and the island, surrounded by a halo of pills. What happened? his wife asked as she hurried to his side, although she suspected she already knew.

He wasnt sure, he told her. One minute he was standing at the counter, getting ready to take his morning medications the next, just like that, he was on the floor. She helped him sit up. When he was able to, he slowly rose to his feet. It was the third time he fainted in the last week and a half. The first spell came when his wife was out of town. He was dozing on the patio and woke up hot and sweaty. As he made his way into the house, he felt unsteady and braced himself on the wall. He made it to a chair but passed out a couple of times just sitting there. And when awake, he was confused. He was trying to read a text from his daughter but couldnt remember how.

After finishing her exam, the physician assistant sent him to the lab. This was probably a urinary-tract infection, she told him after reviewing his test results. These are not uncommon in older men, because an enlarging prostate can make it hard to urinate. She started him on an antibiotic often used to treat this kind of infection.

That was just two days before this most recent episode. The P.A. told him to go to the hospital if he felt any worse. He definitely felt worse.

What To Do After Youve Been Bitten

If youve been bitten by a tick, its important to identify the type of tick that bit you and how long it fed for so you can determine your risk for illness.

Dr. Mathers team at the University of Rhode Island runs a website called TickEncounter, which features an array of photos of ticks and how they change as they feed. If you cant identify the tick from photos, another option is to take it to a doctors office or urgent care clinic, which may be able to identify the tick under a microscope and estimate how long it fed for, Dr. Marcos said. Or you can upload a photo of the tick to TickSpotters, a service run by TickEncounter, in which trained experts will email back an ID within 24 hours.

Studies suggest that it typically takes more than 24 hours and sometimes up to 72 hours for an infected blacklegged tick to transmit Lyme-causing bacteria . On the other hand, it may take as little as 15 minutes for a tick to pass along Powassan virus, a rare but severe disease that can cause fever, headache, vomiting and weakness one week to one month after being bitten.

Labs that test ticks are not required to meet the same quality standards as labs used by clinics or hospitals for patient care, she said.

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How To Keep Pets Safe

Dogs, which spend more time outdoors than most other pets, are highly susceptible to ticks. Dr. Hinckley suggested that dog owners ask their veterinarians about whether their pets might benefit from an annual vaccine for Lyme disease and other tick preventive products. Dr. Mather recommended products that kill ticks before they bite, like Frontline Shield, K9 Advantix II and Vectra 3D.

If you have a dog that spends time outside, regularly check it for ticks and remove any that you find, Dr. Hinckley said. The C.D.C. recommends gently running your fingers through their fur to feel for any small bumps. Check in and around their ears, around their eyelids, under their collar, under their front legs, between their back legs, between their toes and around their tail. Remove ticks using fine-tipped tweezers, gripping the tick as close to the skins surface as possible and pulling with a steady, upward motion.

Dogs can easily transfer ticks to their owners, Dr. Marcos said, especially if they are allowed on furniture. The dog jumps into the bed, and then he drops the ticks there, he said so if you have pets that go outside, you might want to reconsider snuggling with them on the sofa or bed.

Dr Ellie Cannon: I’ve Felt Dizzy For Over Three Years Is It Lyme Disease

Lyme & Reason: Battles & Breakthroughs Against Lyme Disease

17:00 EST, 19 February 2022 | Updated:

I have had severe balance problems for more than three years. Ive read that it could be due to Lyme disease. Is that true?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by a bite from an infected tick, an insect in the spider family that normally lives on animals.

Usually, patients remember being bitten. Its uncommon in the UK only 3,000 people in England and Wales are affected every year.

It is true it can cause neurological problems, including dizziness and feeling off-balance, but its rare for such symptoms to be the only complaint.

However balance problems are incredibly common, and feeling off-balance all the time can be debilitating, affecting every aspect of ones daily routine.

It can be hard to find an answer, but often the problem lies with the area of the inner ear responsible for balance, called the labyrinth.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by a bite from an infected tick , an insect in the spider family that normally lives on animals

It is true it can cause neurological problems, including dizziness and feeling off-balance, but its rare for such symptoms to be the only complaint

The most common conditions are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo , chronic labyrinthitis, Menieres disease or vestibular neuronitis.

All of these problems affect specific balance mechanisms in the inner ear. In neuronitis, for instance, its the nerves that are malfunctioning.

But some dietary choices can make it worse.

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My Son Got Lyme Disease Hes Totally Fine

Horror stories about lingering Lyme disease proliferate, but the illness is easily treated.

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When I mentioned to various people last December that my 9-year-old son, Akash, had Lyme disease, many immediately told me horror stories. A parent at the school bus stop told me about a family friend in her 20s who has never recovered from her infection. A co-worker at the neighborhood co-op told me that his father-in-law has had seizures ever since his diagnosis. Even a fellow science journalist told me she knows some people never recover.

Everybody, I tell you everybody, has an aunt or an uncle or a friend who got Lyme disease and is now chronically disabled, said Dr. Sunil Sood, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Northwell Health, Cohen Childrens Medical Center in Long Island, N.Y. Unfortunately, its become ingrained that its a chronic condition and there could be nothing further from the truth.

As we discovered in the few weeks of his diagnosis and treatment, many people view Lyme wrongly as a debilitating, chronic illness instead of what it is: An easily treated infection with no long-term consequences for children, or even the vast majority of adults.

The hardest part of our experience was getting Akash diagnosed more on that later. But once we knew he had Lyme disease, he took a four-week course of doxycycline, plus an antacid and a probiotic to minimize the side effects of the antibiotics. And that was it.

Touched By Lyme: Ny Times Op

Ross Douthat is a political analyst, blogger, author and New York Times columnist. As someone who has suffered for years with chronic Lyme disease, he has not only written about his own experience, he has also closely followed the stories of long-haul COVID patients, who continue to experience long-term symptoms.

Thus, he is uniquely positioned to review and analyze the newly published book Chronic: The Hidden Cause of the Autoimmune Pandemic and How to Get Better Again, by Dr. Steven Phillips and Dana Parish.

Douthats article in the February 2 edition of the New York Times carries the headline: Long-Haul Covid and the Chronic Illness Debate. The subheading is: What persistent COVID cases might have in common with chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease, and why it matters.

A portion of the article reads:

The book makes the case that the spread of what the authors call Lyme+, an array of tick-borne pathogens that often infect patients simultaneously, is responsible not just for the more than 400,000 cases of Lyme disease diagnosed each year in the United States but also for an unknown number of chronic infections beyond that undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and left untreated because of a combination of testing failures, institutional bias and the horrible complexity of the diseases themselves.

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A Highly Motivated Clinician

In the emergency department of the Yale New Haven Hospital, it was clear that the elderly man was sick. He had a fever of 101, his heart was racing and his blood pressure was abnormally low, even though he hadnt taken his hypertension medications that morning. Lab results confirmed that first impression. His kidneys were failing though they were fine just two days earlier. He was given IV fluids and started on broad-spectrum antibiotics. The drug hed been taking for the past couple of days didnt seem to be doing the job.

On the floor, the first clinician the patient met was Alan Lee, who was in his last year of med school and serving as an intern. Lee was excited to see this patient. Because the hospital was so crowded, thanks in part to the recent resurgence in Covid-19 cases, patients often spent hours, sometimes days, in the E.R. waiting for a bed. By the time they got onto a medical floor, they could already have a doctor assigned. This meant most of the thinking about the patient had been done, and the accepting physician usually just carried out the first doctors plan. This Sunday-morning admission came during a lull in the action, so Lees team would get the first crack at figuring out what was going on.

Explosion In The Tick Population Draws Attention To Rare Lyme Disease Symptoms In Children

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For 11-year-old Jake Diaz, being outside is complicated. He loves playing golf, but he worries about ticks, because heâs lived with Lyme disease for more than half of his life.

âIt kind of takes me over and I’m not controlling my body anymore,â Jake said.

Initially, doctors diagnosed Jake with anxiety and childhood depression. He was prescribed antidepressants.

âThat was when things got infinitely worse,â Jake’s father, Ray Diaz, said. âJake was trying to physically harm himself. Jake was trying to jump out of moving cars. We were at Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular, and we got out of there and he just took off and sprinted away from us in the middle of Manhattan.â

Jakeâs mother Stacy Diaz, said it was a matter of life or death: âWhen you see your eight year old child and you think that you might not see them tomorrow because of it, it’s scary.â

The Diazes believe Jake was first exposed to an infected tick when he was two years old.

âJake was outside playing golf, swinging the club,â said Stacy. âI called him for lunch and he looked at me and he stopped and he just didn’t move. He couldn’t walk.â

Jakeâs doctors now say the incident was likely caused by tick borne paralysis, but emergency room doctors at the time diagnosed it as a pulled muscle. He recovered, but a few years later, a rash appeared on his right thigh.

âI had headaches, like, almost every day,â Jake said.

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