With the arrival of the summer season, many of us look forward to enjoying the great outdoors. However, it also means the start of tick season, which can be a cause for concern due to the threat of Lyme disease. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about this disease that can lead to unnecessary fear and anxiety. In this blog, we will debunk some of the most common myths about Lyme disease and provide accurate information to help you stay safe and informed this tick season.
Myth: Everyone Who Gets Lyme Disease Develops A Bullseye Rash
Fact: While a rash resembling a bullseye, called an erythema migrans (EM), is often associated with an initial Lyme disease infection, it may not appear in all cases. Unfortunately, many people who have been bitten by a tick and exposed to Lyme disease are unaware of their condition and do not seek treatment.
Myth: You Can Only Get Lyme Disease From A Tick Bite
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, Lyme disease can be transmitted through means other than just tick bites. Other insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and other biting bugs can also transmit the disease. Additionally, research suggests that Lyme can also be transmitted through various bodily fluids, as well as raw food and sexual intercourse.
Myth: Standard Testing Is Accurate In Identifying Lyme Disease
Fact: Blood tests for Lyme disease are frequently not reliable, particularly when conducted soon after infection. This is due in part to the difficulty in determining what constitutes a "positive test." According to the CDC, a positive diagnosis for Lyme requires at least five out of ten markers from a standard blood test. As a result, someone may display the three most common markers and still not receive a Lyme diagnosis.
Myth: Ticks Only Transmit Lyme Disease
Fact: Lyme disease is complicated because tick bites can also expose people to other illnesses, known as coinfections. A survey of people with chronic Lyme disease found that half had at least one coinfection, and almost 30% had at least two. If you have Lyme disease, it's possible that some of your symptoms may be caused by a coinfection.
Myth: Lyme Disease Is Easily Treated With A Course of Antibiotics
Fact: While antibiotics are the initial treatment for Lyme disease after immediate exposure, it is not always easily treated. Late-stage Lyme disease, which can occur when the initial infection is not properly treated, is much more difficult to cure. Additionally, some patients with Lyme disease may have persistent symptoms even after being treated with antibiotics. This condition is known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) and can cause long-term symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, and cognitive issues.
Lyme disease is often not diagnosed due to its wide range of symptoms, which can vary from minor to severe. Some common symptoms include chronic fatigue, joint pain, and brain fog. However, there are also many lesser-known symptoms that can be overlooked, such as skin problems, heart problems, and digestive issues. Additionally, Lyme disease can cause meat allergies, paralysis (often misdiagnosed as Bell's palsy), and hair loss. It's important to be aware of these symptoms, as well as the fact that standard testing for Lyme disease is frequently not reliable. If you suspect you may have Lyme disease, it's important to seek medical attention and be persistent in getting an accurate diagnosis.
Spotting the symptoms of Lyme disease and receiving a proper diagnosis is often an uphill battle that can take years. Patients treated at Holtorf Medical Group have seen an average of 7.2 different physicians prior to their visit to our center, without experiencing significant improvement.
At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to utilize cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to uncover the root cause of your symptoms and treat the source. If you are experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease or if you have been previously diagnosed, but aren’t getting the treatment you need, call us at 844-844-2981 to see how we can help you!