Having grown up in sunny Florida, my younger brother and I definitely weren’t strangers to the outdoors. Having moved to Florida from New York, we were always taking advantage of what the great outdoors best offers two city slicker kids like ourselves.
It was summertime and it must have been while we were playing and rolling around in the grass near our house. I remember my little brother coming down with flu-like symptoms, and our parents having to rush him to the Emergency Room late one night.
My brother’s doctor explained to our family that the bulls-eye rash that had appeared on his thigh was sufficient enough for him to pronounce a diagnosis of Lyme disease. We further learned that it is fairly easy to treat if it is caught early or treated adequately, if not it can become a seriously debilitating disease with the potential to permanently disable.
My brother was given the standard treatment of 2-3 weeks of oral antibiotics, and then intravenously for 4 weeks. After completing the treatment he never again experienced any of the symptoms related with Lyme disease. The doctor treating my brother attributes his full recovery to his early diagnosis, but now when I think back on our experience, and knowing what I do now, I’d say that my brother’s doctor was being incredibly modest.
I say this because in the years after my brother’s Lyme infection our parents now being fully apprised of the utter devastation that this disease might have wreaked on our family, took every precaution necessary to keep my brother and I from any further infections.
As a child I knew and understood very little about this disease apart from the fact that it was incredibly easy to catch and extremely dangerous. Now, as an adult I have a much better understanding, and will often stress the seriousness of this disease and the importance of disease prevention to those who are unaware.
Lyme, has become one of the fastest spreading and most prevalent tick-borne diseases in the United States today. Because the disease is often missed or more often than not misdiagnosed by physicians, it has the potential to go untreated or worse, unknowingly mistreated for years.
Lyme disease masks itself in the guise of various other serious diseases and disorders due to the bewildering number of symptoms it can manifest in someone who has been infected. It is imperative that if you are experiencing any symptoms that could possibly be associated with Lyme disease, you seek the professional advice of a Lyme-conscious doctor. A trained physician who has experience dealing with those afflicted with Lyme is highly recommended for a proper diagnosis.
The month of May is Lyme Disease Awareness month, the purpose of which is to bring to national attention the emergence of springtime ticks, some of which will invariably be Lyme infected.
By paying attention to detail and also being exceptionally careful during our time spent outdoors we can proactively keep ourselves, our children, even our pets from the terrible effects of this preventable disease.