Fighting chronic Lyme
In October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Lyme disease to be 1,000 times greater than thought, now over 300,000 new cases yearly. Vermont reported more than 600 last year. Commissioner of Health Henry Chen reported to the House Health Care Committee this year that Lyme is epidemic in Vermont and can be found in every county in the state. Commissioner Chen has also been working with the Legislature to educate Vermonters and doctors about Lyme prevention, diagnosis and treatment options.
Find Lyme prevention information at www.lymediseaseassociation.org. Typically May through October are months for Lyme, but nymphs, the size of poppy seeds, are out in leaf litter as early as April. Woods, grasses and your woodpile may harbor them. Children are most at risk because they are closest to the ground. Parents should tick-check kids often during play where there is possible exposure. Teaching your kids to do their own and buddy tick checks is a good habit to develop. Lyme can be debilitating and have serious neurological effects.
Learn how to remove ticks safely, and note the symptoms of Lyme; www.lymepa.org has an excellent symptoms list in its booklet (PDF or by request). Treating Lyme early and adequately is challenging but possible. Only 50 percent of people remember having a bullís-eye rash, and it takes about four to six weeks to build antibodies that show up in some tests. About 40 percent of testing done after that is inaccurate, so catching early, easily treated Lyme is diagnostic. This is difficult as Lyme looks like many other diseases, and experience in diagnosis can be important. Lyme is endemic in Vermont and now found in every state in the U.S., in Canada and in other parts of the world transmitted with other tick-borne diseases complicating diagnosis and treatment.
For more information about Lyme in Vermont, www.vermontlyme.com is a gateway to what is happening in our state and what you can do to keep yourself, your family and your friends from developing chronic Lyme, which is much more difficult to treat and often requires long-term treatment. If you have chronic Lyme, you can get better if treated adequately. The International Lyme and Associated Disease Society, more than 12,000 physicians who research and treat chronic Lyme, offers up-to-date science-based information for you and your doctor at www.ILADS.org. Options exist for treating chronic Lyme, and the commissioner of health is working to ensure that more Vermont doctors are aware of these options. Research the ILADS site for accurate science-based info that is current.
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