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Ten Tips for Preventing Lyme Disease

1. Lyme disease is a nationwide problem

Contrary to popular belief, Lyme disease is not just an “East Coast” problem. In fact, in the last ten years, ticks known to carry Lyme disease have been identified in all 50 states and worldwide. Although the black legged tick is considered the traditional source of Lyme disease, new tick species such as the Lonestar tick and a pacific coast tick, have been found to carry Borrelia burgdorferi, the corkscrew-shaped bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Wisconsin is a known endemic state for Lyme disease.

The first step in prevention of Lyme disease is avoiding a tick bite. One needn’t have been “hiking in the woods” in order to be bitten by a tick. There can be ticks wherever there is grass or vegetation, and tick bites can happen any time of year. Spraying one’ s clothes with DEET-containing insecticide or a new essential oil called Ticks-N-All that Serenity Health Care Center recommends. Wear long sleeves and long pants, and “tuck pants into socks”, continue to be the best ways to avoid ticks attaching to the skin. But don’t forget the post-walk body check.

2. Check your tick facts

Ticks can vary in size from a poppy-seed size nymphal tick to a sesame-seed size adult tick. The ticks can carry other infectious agents besides the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, including Ehrlichia, Anaplamosis, Babesia, and Bartonella. Lyme disease can sometimes be hard to cure if these other infections are not treated at the same time.

3. Show your doctor every rash

The bull’s eye rash is the most famous, but there are many other types of rashes associated with Lyme disease. In fact, Lyme disease rashes can be mistaken for spider bites or skin infections. Take photos and make sure a medical professional sees the rash before it fades.

4. Don’t assume that you can’t have Lyme disease if you don't have a rash

Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose without a rash, Bell’s palsy, arthritis, or meningitis, and simple flu like symptoms can present with the tick bite. You can still have Lyme and not have any of those signs or symptoms. Many people react differently to the infection and experience fatigue, headaches, irritability, anxiety, crying, sleep disturbance, poor memory and concentration, chest pain, palpitations, lightheadedness, joint pain, numbness and tingling.

5. Do not rely on test results

Currently there is no reliable test to determine if someone has contracted Lyme disease or is cured of it. False positives and false negatives often occur, though false negatives are far more common. In fact, some studies indicate up to 50% of the patients tested for Lyme disease receive false negative results. As a result, the CDC relies on physicians to make a clinical diagnosis based on a patient’s symptoms, health history, and exposure risks. Doctors who are experienced in recognizing Lyme disease will treat when symptoms typical of the illness are present, even without a positive test, in an effort to prevent the development of chronic Lyme disease.

6. Be aware of similar conditions

Chronic Lyme disease is called the “great imitator” because it is often misdiagnosed as another condition such as Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or anxiety. Misdiagnosis is a common experience for patients with chronic Lyme disease. Treatments that work for these other illnesses are not appropriate for treating Lyme disease. Currently, the only effective treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics. Ask your doctor to carefully evaluate you for Lyme disease even if your tests are negative. If your doctor will not even consider this an option find another Lyme literate practitioner.

7. ”Wait and See” approach to treatment may be risky

Up to fifty percent of ticks in Lyme-endemic areas are infected with Lyme or other tick-borne diseases. With odds like that, if you have proof or a high suspicion that you’ve been bitten by a tick, taking a “wait and see” approach to deciding whether to treat the disease has risks. The onset of Lyme disease symptoms can be easily overlooked or mistaken for other illnesses. Once symptoms are more evident the disease may have already entered the central nervous system, and could be hard to cure. This is one case in which an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

8. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion

Recognize that opinions on how to diagnose and treat Lyme disease vary widely among practitioners. It is worth getting a second or even a third opinion, especially if you are symptomatic and your practitioner advises not to treat, or symptoms recur or persist after treatment. Keep in mind that your practitioner may focus too narrowly on diagnosing and treating a single symptom. For example, a practitioner may diagnose a pain in your knee as “arthritis”, and not see this as just one part of a larger set of symptoms that adds up to a diagnosis of Lyme disease, which requires different treatment.

9. Know your treatment options

Work with your practitioner to identify the appropriate treatment option if your symptoms persist. There is more than one type of antibiotic available. Longer treatment is also an option. You should also work with your doctor to make sure you don’t have another condition.

10. Expect success

You should expect to get better. You should not accept “watchful waiting” – the practice of stopping antibiotic treatment before you are well and then waiting for symptoms to clear on their own. Some practitioners advocate stopping Lyme treatment while the patient is still symptomatic and then hoping that he or she will eventually recover without further treatment. Government trials have identified a number of individuals whose symptoms did not clear when treatment was cut off prematurely. There are practitioners who feel your symptoms will clear with further antibiotic treatment.

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Lyme Disease Testimonials

Dr. Andrew Chevalier, ND
"I’ve been suffering from a horrible disease for around 11 years. I’ve been neglected by doctors for about eight years, told I was crazy, that my disease is all in my head, there’s nothing they can do about it, etc. When I came to this place I was overjoyed, I’ve cried with happiness because of finding this place. This medical team is absolutely phenomenal and I would give them five stars and a 110% recommendation. This is something that is saving my life, and I know many other people that have the same experience as I do. They..."
Dr. Andrew Chevalier, ND
"Dr Chevalier and his team have created a very high quality practice over the past year. I am a very well-trained surgeon with very high standards, and have been very pleased and impressed with the quality of care this team provides consistently. Dr C has assembled a very bright and high quality team including Briana, the very bright, competent and professional practice manager, Rene a very skilled iv nurse, and Kacey and two superb phlebotomists, Amy and Summer. Dr Chevalier's focus is on interventions which strengthen the patient's own health and immune system. This approach has been invaluable for..."
Dr. Nicole Schertell, ND, CCT
"Honestly, Dr. Scherell was my last stop. After years of being passed around, I had one foot in the grave. I could barely function. Today my life is so different. After being diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2013, Dr. Schertell started treating me. She has done for me what no other doctor could do. She is very smart and I love her dedicated staff. I owe them my life."
Dr. Nicole Schertell, ND, CCT
"A lot of people say that you cannot "cure" Lyme disease, but I have been Lyme symptom free for over 7 months now. I am now focusing on healing my body and balancing hormones. Dr Shertell saved my life! "
Dr. Jennifer Smith, ND
"I had my first appointment with Dr. Jennifer Smith this week. I have been to over 100 doctors in nine years. With Dr. Smith, I loved how she didn’t make assumptions or jump to a conclusion after I handed her my list of symptoms and past blood work. She took the time to understand the history and then ordered more testing. She did some other tests and was just very compassionate and understanding. She knows people like me have been through a lot. I would highly recommend you see her even if you already have a Lyme doctor. She does..."
Jennifer Goldstock BSN, MSN, ANP-BC
"Listen up folks !!!!! I had some bad experiences through misdiagnosis and courses of treatment until I was finally recommended to Jen and her staff at synRG Integrative. The compassion, knowledge and understanding from the moment I walked through that door is something I will never forget. Lyme is a terrible, painful and debilitating disease. Jennifer and her staff (Katie and Julie are incredible passionate people) are with you every step of the way during your course of treatment. I normally don't complete reviews, but I had to in this case to recommend synRG Integrative to..."
"If you want to get better from Lyme disease with lots of co-infections, then I suggest that you see Dr. Richey! Do not waste your money elsewhere! She and her family have Lyme disease, too, and she has a vested interested in keeping up-to-date on Lyme treatments. She knows what we are going through because she has gone through the same thing. She will understand you!"
Dr. Lesley Fein, MD, MPH
"Typically, I do not leave reviews, however after my experience with Dr. Fein I feel an obligation to do so. Let me begin by stating I have seen many specialists over the years after I was misdiagnosed for 10 years and was bound to a wheelchair. When I met her I had to choose between her and Dr. Frid of NY who, at the time, was treating me. I’m glad I chose Dr. Fein. Not only is her knowledge of this disease unmatched, but she is humble, caring, and listens to your concerns, in fact there..."
Mary-Beth Charno, RN, MSN, ANP-C
"I can't speak highly enough about Mary-Beth. She was a tremendous help when I was diagnosed with Lyme this past year. Her expertise in the area of Lyme disease and co-infections is such an asset to the healthcare community as it has become so prevalent today. Additionally, Mary-Beth's background in both conventional training as well as functional medicine is invaluable as well. Her approach to treatment not only includes addressing the symptoms of the infection, but she also addresses and supports the whole person. As a result, the common side effects of the treatment were lessened and I tolerated treatment..."
Dr. Charles Crist, MD, PC
"I have been under Dr. Crist’s care now for about 6 years, and I can honestly say he saved my life. After 10 ½ months of being misdiagnosed and basically abandoned by my family doctor and the local medical community, I was feeling pretty lost and hopeless. It’s hard to describe how much hope my first appointment with Dr. Crist gave me, because I had gone through months of seeing doctors that told me anything from “Lyme Disease doesn’t exist in Kansas” to “You’re just depressed.” Dr. Crist is everything all of those doctors were not: he is kind, knowledgeable,..."
Dr. Seth Osgood, DNP, FNP-BC, EMT-P, IFMCP
"I’ve been a patient of Dr. Seth’s for the past year and my husband has been a patient for the past two years. He is incredibly knowledgeable, researched, compassionate, caring and detailed. He’s a good listener, too. Dr. Seth has helped my husband successfully gain control of his Rheumatoid arthritis without drugs and he is now in remission. I had been to countless doctors over the years trying to find a cause for my ongoing fatigue and muscle pain. Dr. Seth was the only medical professional who took the time to dig deep and tried to find a root cause...."
Rita M. Rhoads, MPH, CRNP, CNM
"I would have died if I wouldn't have gone to see Rita. I had every lyme disease symptom you could possibly imagine. After working with Rita a few years ago I can live a normal life again. If you have lyme disease or think that you might, I would highly recommend her. She literally saved my life."
Dr. Andrew Chevalier, ND
"I went to Dr Andy Chevalier on April 11th of 2018 for umbilical stem cells. I had Aplastic Anemia from Lyme, Bartonella, CMV, and EBV entering my bones. Her I am one month later able to walk, run, swim, no pain except a little left in my neck and back, no seizures or migraines, able to handle an entire day of doing things I love and want to do. I owe him my life. The only thing I wanted to do but couldn’t was take him and the entire staff home with me. Amazingly beautiful souls!!! Niki ..."
"I want to thank Dr. Richey for her expert care. She literally saved my daughter's life when no one else would take me or her seriously! I greatly appreciate her thorough attention."
Dr. Tenesha Wards, DC
"I've been sick for 20+ years. The last 10 have been spent in the bed. I've been to EVERY specialist there is in my area and Houston. They piled pills upon pills to treat my symptoms and labeled me with "fibromyalgia." I knew that was not the problem, but finally just accepted I would never get better. One day while sitting on my floor exhausted, crying, scrolling through Facebook, an ad popped up for Doctor Tenesha Wards. She described me and my life and my symptoms completely and said there was an answer. For the first time, I..."

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