About a week and a half after one of my family’s annual fall trips to Cape Cod, I started feeling very lethargic and just on the edge of nausea. After a couple of more days of continued and intensified symptoms, I tried to get out of bed and couldn’t quite manage it due to a severe headache and my body that felt as if an elephant was sitting on top of it. Thus began my battle with Lyme Disease that would be a big part of my life for about a year.
On my many previous trips to the Cape, I had noticed a lot of signs all over the Cape and Islands warning about the dangers of tick borne Lyme Disease. I must admit, I didn’t give those signs the serious consideration I should have. I associated ticks with summertime and I, since it was early October, I didn’t feel I had anything to worry about. If I had bothered to pay more attention to the details on those signs, I would have noticed that ticks are still very active well into the fall season.
I should have also paid enough attention to the warnings to realize that Lyme Disease is a really big deal and nothing to be trifled with. As I would find out over the months after I first realized what I had, Lyme Disease can lead to longterm bouts of headaches, lethargy and joint pain.
Luckily, my doctor diagnosed me properly and put me on some antibiotics that eventually got rif of the painful symptoms I’d been experiencing. Early diagnosis is citical to keeping Lyme Disease a short rather than long term condition.
In a perfect world, a person would never dare venture into the woods or any kind of brushy area unless they were attired in long pants and long sleeved shirts. In the real world, where short pants and t-shirts are the rule rather than the exception, spray on some insect repellent that has deet as an active ingredient and check yourself for ticks at least once every half hour and if someone is with you, help each other with a visual check. Look very carefully because, even small hard to detect nymph ticks can attach and spread the disease. Also, be sure to check those regions of the body you didn’t check when outside each time you take a shower or bathe. If a tick is found that has attached itself to your skin, remove it with tweezers by pulling the head out with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible.