Lyme hope for the New Year

Opinion

To the Editor:

The year 2020 is winding down and vector borne disease, ie Lyme, has been on the back burner. The only thing on the mind of most everyone is COVID. We hope and pray that this shall pass but we must all do our part and follow the direction we are being given. There are still those who think COVID is not real just as there are those who think Lyme is not real. We now have what is being called COVID ‘long haulers’. There is also those who continue to have Lyme symptoms as the bacteria has not been cleared, the Lyme ‘persisters’ or late stage Lyme. The search for answers continues with COVID is the forefront with Lyme researchers working on COVID at this time. The search for answers continues.

Ticks are on the move with the mild weather we have had this fall, it is a rollercoaster ride. It is somewhat more dangerous this time of year because it is the adult tick that are out questing and they have already fed twice. Chances are the number of infected ticks is much higher this time of year. It is important to remember ticks can be out year round and during the winter whenever the temperature is above 4 degrees Celsius there are active ticks.

I have had numerous people call with questions regarding ticks and tick bites. I have had hunters comment about the heavy load of ticks they found on deer during this hunting season.

There is no time for one to let their guard down. People might be told the risk is small but risk is risk so it is best to try and avoid a problem. The risk is such that there are people being bitten in their own yards. If you have a dog who has had tick bites and or Lyme disease you, too, are at greater risk.

Be sure to dress properly, use a repellent, do a complete body check on return home. Clothes in a hot dryer for about 15 minutes before washing. It is also wise to have a shower after returning home and again to a full body check. Ticks are very small.

If you find an attached tick carefully remove it using fine point tweezers or a tick removal device and save it in a baggie. Ticks can be sent for testing. Information is available here: https://www.lloydticklab.ca/tick-testing.html

Be aware of possible symptoms of Lyme disease and watch for a rash although it is not as common as one would be led to believe. Testing is available in Canada but has been found to be not that accurate. One must wait about four weeks before testing to allow the body to produce antibodies that the test looks for. A negative test does not mean you could not have Lyme. Lyme is a clinical diagnosis that can be supported by testing. Testing outside of Canada is not accepted in Canada so if you have positive testing from the USA or Germany treatment will not be available in Canada.

Lyme advocates have been fighting for change for a long time. The recent W5 Lyme segment Bitten did help to shine more light on the problem but so much more is needed. There are far too many people looking for help and being left out in the cold.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQh_XPU0imQ&fbclid=IwAR3Kd3Fk2RE932zQjmWCOG4U-JMWd9m9vvIk BYGmILOF_1w89ODGNp DFvlk

The Lyme battles continue as researchers seek answers and those who suffer continue to hope for change. Education is key.

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin

New Glasgow