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Back to the Woods, Ticks Can Bring Big Problems

By Don Posh

IndiGO


Following the strangest winter we’ve ever experienced, we’re coming out of our human hibernation. As we venture outside we must be on alert for tics. Tics also end up inside if not from latching onto us, from our pets. We treat our dogs and cats for tics and often the tics will move from our pets to us.


Mice can bring them into our homes as well.


Tis the season for tics. Those tiny little parasites can cause a lot of big problems. I read a story “A Slow Slipping Away” of the Lyme Disease adventure with well-known Rhodes Scholar, Military Officer, Helicopter Pilot, Grammy Winner, Actor Kris Kristofferson. The story describes the misdiagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s. He also experienced Heart Arrhythmias which are also connected with Lyme Disease. Even with access to some of the highest paid physicians and specialists the Lyme Disease slipped through the cracks.

Let’s take a look at symptoms listed from the Mayo Clinic.


Stage 1 symptoms include:

•             Fever

•             Headache.

•             Extreme tiredness.

•             Joint stiffness.

•             Muscle aches and pains.

•             Swollen lymph nodes.


Without treatment, Lyme disease can get worse.  The symptoms often show up within 3 to 10 weeks after a tick bite. Stage 2 is often more serious and widespread. It is called early disseminated disease.


Stage 2 may include the stage 1 symptoms and the following:


•             Many rashes on other parts of the body.

•             Neck pain or stiffness.

•             Muscle weakness on one or both sides of the face.

•             Immune-system activity in heart tissue that causes irregular heartbeats.

•             Pain that starts from the back and hips and spreads to the legs.

•             Pain, numbness or weakness in the hands or feet.

•             Painful swelling in tissues of the eye or eyelid.

•             Immune-system activity in eye nerves that causes pain or vision loss.


In the third stage, you may have symptoms from the earlier stages and other symptoms. This stage is called late disseminated disease. In the United States, the most common condition of this stage is arthritis in large joints, particularly the knees. Pain, swelling or stiffness may last for a long time. Or the symptoms may come and go. Stage 3 symptoms usually begin 2 to 12 months after a tick bite.


Complications


Some people with Lyme disease report symptoms that continue after treatment. These longer-lasting symptoms may include:


•             Arthritis that begins with Lyme disease and doesn't improve.

•             Body aches and pains.

•             Constant or frequent tiredness.

•             Memory complaints.


Please be aware of symptoms you may be experiencing. If you are being treated for symptoms, but not tested for Lyme disease it may lead to taking medications that will not improve your health along with the side effects of those medications. The story of Kris Kristofferson being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Fibromyalgia is an example of the lack of understanding and testing for Lyme Disease. A memory problem can be diagnosed as Dementia without further investigation. You are your best patient advocate!


Be Well…We’re All in This Together!


For more information on independent living contact: indiGO serving Douglas, Bayfield, Iron, Price, Sawyer, Washburn, and Burnett Counties including Tribal communities of Red Cliff, Bad River, La Courte Oreilles and St Croix.


Main office: 800-924-1220 V/TTY


Our non-profit agency, indiGO, aims to empower individuals living with disabilities and we are available to assist ALL ages and disabilities.  We are not a vendor and do not sell any products, but we are here as a resource.

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