We are in the midst of Summer 2017 and it is another great time for bonding, relaxing and spending time in the great outdoors with pets, friends and family. Throughout the year I have written and posted on my social media about all the things I am doing to raise awareness for Lyme disease and July 2017 is no exception.
This year, for the first time in 20 years, thanks to Steve and Alexandra Cohen Foundation – CohenGive, Lyme disease was represented at the annual Supper Saturday event put together by the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, OCRFA, in Water Mill New York. This is a fantastic event put together to raise funds for ovarian cancer where many come out and shop in support of the cause.
In support of Lyme disease and prevention, The CohenGive foundation together with myself and ProjectLyme, offered educational resources and giveaways to engage and start the Lyme conversation.
Here are three things everyone must know about Lyme disease that I am sharing with all the attendees of the Supper Saturday Event from last weekend and of course with all of you.
1. Lyme is easy to catch, difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat!
Lyme disease is the number one vector borne illness in the U.S. It affects over 300,000 new patients every year in the U.S. alone. It has been reported in all 50 states and in over 80 countries around the world. Lyme disease is typically spread through insect bites such as ticks, which have recently been on the rise due to an increase in the field mice population across the U.S.
Lyme disease can present initially as a flu like illness with a number of vague symptoms such as:
Rash – which is actually quite unusual and presents only in 20% of the cases, the Bull’s Eye rash is even rarer than that
Cranial Neuropathies such as – Bell’s Palsy (where one side of the face is weak/paralyzed)
Early symptoms of Lyme disease can be very vague and what becomes even more difficult is that at least 50% of the time people don’t notice a tick bite and don’t have a rash, as mentioned above. Typically the symptoms come on within 3-30 days from the time of exposure to the pathogen and they can wax and wane.
Lyme disease is diagnosed through clinical presentation, exam findings as well as blood testing. Many physicians rely heavily on blood testing, although it is important to note that the blood test for Lyme disease (2 tear approach, use of ELISA and Western Blot testing,that is recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Infections Disease Society of America (IDSA)) is 50-70% inaccurate. Meaning the test can show a false negative result over 50% of the time. Therefore, giving a false sense of security to both doctors and patients.
2. Treatment for Lyme disease should be individualized to each patient.
Many believe that all Lyme can be treated with a few weeks of antibiotics but 20-60% of patients may experience persistent symptoms despite taking 2-4 weeks of antibiotics. The persistent symptoms maybe secondary to the fact that the insect can transmit more than just the Lyme bacteria,Borrelia Burgdorferi. Infections such as Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia other bacteria, parasites and viruses some of which have recently been in the news (Powassan virus, Bourbon virus) maybe transmitter through a single insect bite together with the Lyme bacteria.
Often, patients who have persistent symptoms are those who:
Had multiple exposures to insect bites either all at once or over a number of years.
Patients who have more than one infection transmitted by the insect bite
Patients with an impaired immuneresponse
Over time if not addressed appropriately, Lyme disease and associated infections cause inflammation and impaired immune response leading to or mimicking the following conditions:
Neurodevelopmental problems - such as learning disability, ADD/ADHD, OCD behavior, concentration problems, various ticks and more.
Neurodegenerative conditions - such as MS, ALS, Parkinson ’s disease, Dementias like Alzheimer’s etc.
Neuropsychiatric disorders - like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia.
Many other conditions - including memory problems, pain symptoms, insomnia, dizziness, heart problems, kidney disorders, gastrointestinal issues, food intolerance's, chemical sensitivities and many other conditions.
3. Prevention is Key!
In order to avoid an insult to one’s immune system and avoid the possibility of developing complex neurologic and other disorders,we need to start thinking about prevention of insect bites just like we think of protecting ourselves against sun burns.
The three things that everyone should do to prevent insect bites such as ticks are:
1. Protect your yard. 90% of people get exposure to tick bites in their yard. Therefore having a deer fence to decrease the number of wild animals coming into your yard is important. Spray your yard regularly to reduce the tick population and use products such as tick tubes to decrease the spread of Lyme disease to ticks by field mice.
2. Protect your pets. Dogs can bring ticks into your home which will not only expose them to Lyme disease but will expose you and your family to it as well. Talk to your veterinarian about proper immunization. Consider Vanguard and Simparica vaccines for your dogs.
3. Protect yourself. Wear insect repellent clothing such as DrFridKidswear www.drfrid.com, which is insect repellent clothing (repels mosquitoes, ticks, flies, ants etc) for children ages 2-14. Clothing (jacket and pants sold as a set) is light weight, soft, breathable, odorless and pretreated with Insect Shield technology. It is appropriate for all weather and all four seasons as it can be worn over or under clothing. It is so important to protect children because in my clinical experience, recurrent re-exposure to pathogens i.e Lyme disease and co-infections is what leads to life altering medical conditions listed above. Doing tick checks after spending time outdoors is also recommended.
FOLLOW US ON: Facebook & Instagram: @drfridkidswear
Now that you know the above information, enjoy the outdoors and spread the word about Lyme disease.
ELENA FRID, M.D. ABPN, ABCN
AUTOIMMUNE NEUROLOGIST | LYME EXPERT
BOARD CERTIFIED NEUROLOGIST & CLINICAL NEUROPHYSIOLOGIST
151 E 62nd, STE 1A New York, NY 10065 | T: 212-288-8832
Dr. Frid is a physician specializing in Lyme disease and sees patients with this condition - which is not universal among physicians. For more information about Lyme disease contact Dr. Frid
follow Dr. Frid on Instagram @drelenafrid.
ALL YEAR ROUND PROTECTION !!!
Are your kids protected?
The impact of insect-borne illnesses are tragic for people of any age, yet the devastating effects on children, something Dr Frid witnesses in her practice every day, was the impetus she needed to make change.
As a medical professional and a mother, she was inspired to create DrFrid kidswear with built-in Insect Shield® protection. The collection offers an:
BUILT-IN INSECT PROTECTION
EPA - REGISTERED (Reg. No. 74843-2)
LASTS THROUGH 25 WASHES
NO SPECIAL CARE OR STRORAGE REQUIRED
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Youtube Lyme Talk with Dr. Frid