Spring Season - Lyme Disease

Posted on April 22, 2015

By: Dr. Clifford Fetters, M.D. 
Now that spring has finally arrived we can enjoy the true beauty of living in the Midwest. There are several precautions that we all should take to prevent harm from coming to our body. Most important is to avoid sun damaged skin from the sun and avoid developing infectious diseases from “insect bites”. Lyme disease is now the fastest growing infectious disease and most common vector borne illness in the United States. The CDC estimates that there will be 300,000 cases this year in the United States. This translates to approximately 6000 cases in Indiana alone. The highest incidence is in males between the ages of 5 and 10. The second highest group is seen in men and women between the ages of 35 and 55. Although Lyme disease is considered to be most likely transmitted by tick bites there is concern that most stinging insects have the ability to transmit Lyme or one of the 20+ other co-infection of Lyme disease. The key to prevention is avoiding exposure to ticks and preventing insect bites. When outdoors you and your family should wear enclosed shoes and light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily. Scan cloths and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors. Stay on cleared, well traveled trails while hiking. Use insect repellent such as DEET on your clothing but avoid skin contact due to neurotoxicity. Alternatively you may use Ticks-N-All  lyme guard that keeps insects away as a Natural Insect Repellent. Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stonewalls. Remember ticks and there nearly invisible larva often hide  in Shady moist ground litter and the adults can often be found above the ground clinging to tallgrass, brush, and shrubs. If you do find a tick on your skin please do not squeeze it or burn it which might force more of the infected stomach contents in the skin. I personally use the Tick Twister which can be purchased from Petco. Otherwise you may use to fine tweezers to grab ahold of each pincher and withdraw them from the skin without pressing on the body of the tick. If there is concern about developing Lyme disease particularly if you are in southern Indiana were up to 50% of all ticks have been found to carry Lyme disease then I would consider sending the tick off for analysis.
 
You should monitor the site of the bite. If you develop a rash within 30 days of the bite or develop a rash, or flulike illness and I would consider prophylactic treatment. Most ILAD members (Lyme specialist) believe that the CDC recommendation for a short course of antibiotics is not sufficient. We recommend a combination of antibiotics for least one month. Western blot testing should be done 6-8 weeks after the bite. If you later developed a chronic symptoms of Lyme disease which include skin rashes including stretch marks, unexplained hair loss, headaches, seizures, joint pains, ringing in the ears, digestive symptoms, fibromyalgia, shortness of breath or chronic cough, or virtually any neurological symptoms, even psychological symptoms such as mood swings and irritability insomnia and fatigue and brain fog then I would seek the advice of a Lyme literate physician.
 
No one can prevent all insect and tick bites therefore it's imperative to keep once immune system strong throughout the year. Most important is to take a powerful probiotic such as GIH., and an immune boosting multivitamin such as Immupro and K2 plus D. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water and minimize the pesticides and other toxins by eating organic fresh whole foods and only using organic skin products.