When life gives you Lymes, make lime-aid with gin. As I sat in my doctor’s office for a physical for my dietetic internship, I was feeling pretty pleased with my health. My vitals were great, I had no complaints, and no disease history. By the end of the appointment as we were wrapping up I decided to show her an unusual bug bite on my back, just in case. It was a huge red circle, slightly bruised, warm to the touch, something I thought was just a spider bite doing its thing on sensitive skin. Until she said “ We need to start you on Lymes treatment now.”
When I think of all the times I’ve heard about Lymes, they always include a description of the tick bite (erythema migrans) as having a ‘bullseye’, where there is a cleared zone between the bite and the outer edges. It's fairly common for no clearing to occur, although that's not what is usually taught. While I also had the blood work done, the results can be inconclusive with false negatives.
I can’t say I’m totally surprised Lymes finally caught me. Last year, the Loudoun County area accounted for nearly 20% of all cases in the state of Virginia.
I walk these guys outside daily.
I sit in my "outdoor office".
So how can you prevent Lymes disease? There is no vaccine, so use the following advice to avoid tick bites:
- Avoid tick-infested areas, such as tall grasses, whenever feasible.
- When this is not possible, wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants and tuck pants into socks.
- Do a tick check whenever you return from a potential tick habitat and at least once a day. Remove any attached ticks promptly and carefully by gripping the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and using a gentle steady pulling action. Protect hands with gloves, cloth or tissue when removing ticks from people or animals.
From a general health and nutrition standpoint, Lymes meds can put a damper on things.
- No dairy products within 2 hours of pills.
- Don’t lie down within 30 mins of taking pills.
- No direct sunlight (did I mention it’s summer…and I’m on these for 3 weeks?)
- You’ll feel tired. I'm averaging 1-2 naps daily by day 3.
But like I said…when life gives you Lymes, you make the best of it.
Upside? The pills match my nails. We caught it early with the actual bite mark vs. inconclusive blood work. And as much as I don’t want to admit it, there are times when you need to stop sucking it up, and show all of your cards to the doctor.
There’s no shame in having something checked out, even if you aren’t sure it’s medically important. Doctors, dietitians, dentists, etc… are all there for a reason. Stop playing hero and let them help.