Eileen T. Dube, MAc, MS-PREP, LAc, DiplAc (NCCAOM)
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Venturing outdoors?

Carefree Youth

I grew up in a very different era… perhaps you did too.  I would spend the entire day outside, building forts, playing hide and seek, jumping in the Fall leaves.  Sure I would get ticks on me but not being the squeamish type, I would simply remove them with tweezers and be done with it.

I wish I could say that those carefree days of my youth have remained carefree for us all.  It is likely that the ticks of my youth were mostly dog ticks… far less concerning (and slower) than the deer ticks we now live among. We do live in a different time and in a place that is rife with deer ticks carrying all sorts of diseases (not just Lyme).

Clearing away brush at the end of this past February (that’s right, it was technically winter!) getting the garden ready for Spring, I joined numerous family members, friends, and patients… I was infected.  I believed that I was dressed correctly (25% DEET, my socks over my pants, long sleeves, gloves), I inspected for ticks at the end of the day and never saw one… but l am guessing that I didn’t have the skin between the gloves and my coat sleeves treated.   I had an odd little rash 2 or 3 days later, but it was too early to test… so we waited 2 weeks for the antibody response to build in my system. 2 days before I was going to be tested I noticed my right knee started to feel swollen, warm and very sore for no apparent reason. It took me until the next day to realize this was a classic symptom of Lyme disease.  But I was lucky – it was detected and treated early with doxicycline… but the blood test, a Western blot, turned out to be negative as it very often does.

My hope is to help to increase awareness so we can enjoy the beautiful outdoors safely as well as help educate folks about how to get tested and treated appropriately.

Some facts you need to know:

Ever wonder how many folks have been affected? Try this unscientific experiment, ask everyone you know (perhaps posting the question on social media sites such as Facebook): does anyone NOT know someone who has been infected with Lyme or other tick borne disease?  When I did this, I could not find one person.

Check out the Health Info Tick Awareness pages for some important information and links to some great online resources.  I cannot emphasize this enough… you must be proactive and protect yourself!