As you may have heard, many news reports have come out and said this is the worse tick season ever recorded. There are people at the Center for Disease Control who say ticks do not live in Nevada and there are few reported cases of Lyme from this state. Well I am a born and raised Nevadan and I have Lyme Disease. Seriously, I am like the poster child of who should not be at risk for Lyme disease and yet this illness has taken over my body! The CDC does not recognize my case of Lyme disease because I didn't report it when I was first bitten (I never knew I was bitten until about 10 years post-bite).
Here's a fact: If you get bit by a tick (which is likely not larger than the dot of an "i") and you don't see a bullseye rash (only 30-50% of people actually get a rash) you will also not recognize flu-like symptoms within a few days of the bite, then you too will get a negative test result by the CDC's standards. This goes back to more of the controversy on Lyme and I encourage you to watch Under Our Skin (now available on netflix and hulu) and/or check out a reliable website www.lymedisease.org. Oh and to add to it, often ticks bite in hairy areas like your head or genital region so even if you got a rash you wouldn't see it.
I can think of how many times I've thought growing up...."oh, that's just another strange bug bite" and not think anything of it. Most people never feel the tick biting them and it is so easy to miss looking for them because they are so small! So they backwash whatever disease they are carrying into your body as the suck in your blood. And the worst part is you don't even notice. These critters have landed the name "Nature's Dirty Needle." How fitting!
This picture of California is two or three years old and comes from one of the only reputable sites concerning Lyme, www.lymedisease.org.
The orange areas indicate: Deer ticks found in 56 counties
Red indicates: Lyme-infected ticks found in 42 counties
Now here is my thought...since when do bugs know territories! Ticks migrate on animals and people and I live very close to the border of California and Nevada and my symptoms go back about ten years (I think the actual severity of infected bugs is out of control). My point is, please check your kids, pets, spouses and check yourselves! If you are having a day outside and a few days later you come down with flu-like symptoms or cold-like symptoms...GO TO THE DOCTOR and get a z-pack or two! Be preventative because a couple of weeks on antibiotics is WAY better than years of undiagnosed pain and suffering only to be followed by months to years of treatment that is controversial and many insurances don't cover. If your doctor refuses antibiotics to you because he/she is unaware how rampant Lyme is then you need to find a new doctor. It's not worth the risk. I would not wish this disease on anyone. Seriously.
The CDC likes us to believe we don't have ticks here or our ticks are of no danger and unfortunately that is not the case. This all goes back to the controversy with Lyme. It breaks my heart to know that so many people are just uninformed. I went undiagnosed for so long because none of my doctors knew to look out for Lyme disease because it's "only in the East". Here is an article from the Reno-Gazette Journal about ticks and their existence in Northern Nevada. This is my cry to let everyone know you can get Lyme disease anywhere (except Antarctica...if you live there you are safe!).
Okay, I realize I am paranoid and a little extreme about this issue, but the weather is beautiful out and everyone wants to play outside so we all just need to be educated on what to look for.
Here are some additional links that you may find helpful:
-How to remove a tick.
-How to protect yourself and loved ones.
-If Lyme is so bad, why isn't this on the news?
-I don't have time to watch the documentary....can you sum it up for me? Sure. Click here.
Also, one more thing...it is believed that the Lyme bacteria can be transmitted sexually, in utero, and by other critters like mosquitos and bed bugs. There is not enough scientific evidence to prove or disprove these theories, but as the Lyme battle continues, I want you to know it's a possibility.
All in all, if you are reading this, then I care about you and I am glad you landed on my blog. I want to educate you so you can educate others. I thank you for reading and allowing me to be a little paranoid about this tragic disease...I guess I am paranoid enough to spread the word. Remember, even if you've lived in the same place forever...this years tick season is record-breaking high so a place you considered to be "safe" from ticks may not still be safe AND Deet does not work to prevent ticks!