By Dr. Mara Davidson Lyme disease is an ever-growing epidemic throughout the United States. Unfortunately this spiral shaped bacteria named Borrelia burgdorferi which causes Lyme disease is found in several types of deer ticks. Not only are many humans at risk for getting bitten by ticks but our four-legged friends as well. When going out for a nice stroll through your favorite park or woodland area, hiking through a gorgeous mountain trail, or jogging along a glistening lake you are at risk for a tick bite.
Not all ticks are infected with the Lyme disease carrying bacteria, but it is crucial to assume all tick are carriers. One of the common signs people look for after being bitten by a tick is the red “bullseye” rash called erythema migrans. This can take several days or even weeks to appear.
However a common misconception many have is that if this rash does not appear then you are Lyme disease free. It is vital to note that less than 40% of people who have been infected with Lyme disease will actually present with this bullseye. This marked characteristic (if it appears) is confirmatory for Lyme disease, but the absence of the bullseye does not rule out Lyme disease. Please be aware further testing is warranted. Some common symptoms which can occur in Lyme disease are joint pain, muscle aches and stiffness, flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, and even facial paralysis. These are very broad symptoms which do not necessarily make individuals think of Lyme disease which is why this condition oftentimes ends up being untreated for years. That’s not to say when you have flu-like symptoms that it is not the flu, but it is important to be aware and recall your recent activities so that you can assist your Naturopathic physician in establishing the clearest picture possible for an accurate diagnosis.
Here at Shalva Clinic, we use lab companies which utilize extensive and in-depth testing that is not offered from conventional companies. Our specialized labs examine very detailed and specific markers that are oftentimes overlooked or not even analyzed by traditional firms. If you have been bitten by a tick and have not been tested, or if you know you have been exposed to areas where ticks are known to inhabit and are not sure if you have been bitten, make an appointment today to be seen by one of our Naturopathic physicians to be checked for Lyme disease. Remember do not be deceived by the lack of a “bullseye” in Lyme disease. This is a tricky condition and its “target” is to fool you.