By Thomas Kwan
Lyme Disease is one that most people have heard of, but few know the daunting effect it has on people's quality of life. Per the CDC's knowledge, the innumerable occurrence of cases (as many as 100,000 yearlies caused by tick bites) transpires in Pennsylvania alone. The influence of this pestilence is irrefutable.
According to the CDC, early stages (3-30 days after tick bite) of Lyme Disease symptoms described by healthpa.gov are as follows:
-Erythema migrans (EM) red, oval, or round rash
-Although EM is (often described as a "bull's eye rash,") the bull's eye appearance is not common. The rash may be round or oval with no clearing, it may have a red ring with clearing in the center, and it may appear blueish. The first EM rash usually appears at the tick bite site but may progress to multiple EM rashes anywhere on the body.
-Occurs in 70-80% of cases in some form, bull's eye appearance is less common.
-First EM rash typically appears within 3-30 days. The average is about seven days.
-May increase in size to around 12 inches.
-It may feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful.
-Fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes. Most Lyme cases in Pennsylvania occur in the late spring and summer months when flu is rare. Lyme and other tick-borne diseases should be considered when you have a flu-like illness in the summer.
-According to the CDC, later stages (days to months) of Lyme Disease symptoms include:
-Severe headaches and neck stiffness
-Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
-Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly in the knees and other large joints.
-Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
-Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
-Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
-Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
-Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
-Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
-Problems with short-term memory
When left unchecked, Lyme Disease vehemently metastasizes and proceeds to the rest of the body. The debilitation effect on people is unfathomable. Young people have the memory retention/vitality of those in their golden years, though they can still go on to live daily life. Although many struggles with daily activities such as basic housework/upkeep, bathing, going shopping and working. Despite that, there is hope and assurance in anti-biotic treatment (which is proven more effective the earlier you receive it). According to the CDC's website, even after treatment, those with Lyme Disease still have the symptoms mentioned above. Those with these symptoms for a period of longer than 6 months are diagnosed with an ailment referred to as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).
Lack of proven treatment and an even greater lack of funding. Suffering, tribulations, and torment are all that await with PTLDS. Vaccinations for Lyme Disease do not yet exist. Only recently, the Federal Government stepped in and began to include requisite capital for the study of tick-borne diseases.
As stated by lymedisease.org, the House approved the following FY22 Lyme funding in late July 2021 for the fiscal year of 2022:
$24 million for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Lyme & Tick-borne Disease (TBD) (+50% over FY21)
$7 million for Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) TBD Research Program (+$0% over FY21)
$5 million for LymeX Innovation Accelerator through a House Floor amendment with many of you weighing in with your support
While this is sufficient, one might argue that it is still not enough. In 2020 the Tick-borne Disease Working Group submitted a report to congress on all the recommendations and requirements needed to combat this life-altering affliction. Blood testing is used to determine whether or not you might have this disease by checking to see if your body produces antibodies associated with the Borrelia bacterium. However, this is not 100% unfalsifiable as humans may produce this antibody on their own without being bitten by a tick. More accurate tests are needed to diagnose people properly (with as many as 50% being false positive). There is an axiomatic necessity need of an error-free methodology.
Whether you or someone else is affected by this atrocity (also known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease), it is devastating to one's mind, body, and soul. Lyme disease can make many of the tasks many of us take for granted extremely difficult. Let's celebrate these brave individuals for their enormous victories in overcoming these obstacles every day.
The information contained in the article can be found in these following articles: