How Can I Help? Lyme Disease Awareness Month
What you can’t see can kill you. Ask the tens of thousands of people who have Lyme disease. The insidious disease causes rashes and joint aches and pains that mimic many other diseases, making it very difficult to diagnose. Left untreated, it can turn into chronic Lyme disease, which can result in an enlarged heart and cardiac arrest or even cripple the victim.
Lyme Disease organizations strive to increase public awareness about the perils of this devastating illness. The month of May is designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month 2018, a time when learning about Lyme disease, its causes, and detrimental effects are put in the spotlight.
The Pest That Causes Lyme Disease
It may be hard to believe such a small creature could have such far-reaching effects, but a simple tick is responsible for the spread of this horrible sickness. The deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, can be found in the northeastern and midwestern parts of the United States. Ticks can be carried into your home on clothing, on the bottom of your pants, for example. That is why it’s extremely important to use insect repellent when outdoors, especially if you are in an area where the disease is endemic. You will also want to make sure your home is sprayed and treated with environmentally friendly non-toxic chemicals, so it remains pest-free.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta says Lyme disease is a “major U.S. public health problem.” The CDC estimates 300,000 people acquire it every year, and it is spreading. There is no vaccine available yet, and for those already afflicted with the disease, it is hard to find real help.
Doctors scoff at prescribing ongoing antibacterial treatment because of the possibility of superbug development and drug resistance. Health insurance companies often refuse to pay for anything more than the standard six-week antibiotic treatment. That means anyone suffering longer than that usually must find other means of fighting the illness.
Some Lyme disease patients turn to alternative medical treatments. Some of the alternative treatments work and some don’t. A whole rogue industry has sprung up around Lyme disease, misleading patients with the goal of getting in their wallets. Snake oil salesmen offer up miracle cures and treatments that simply don’t work. There is no cure for Lyme disease.
But, the problems don’t end there. Many Lyme disease sufferers are stigmatized for having the disease in the first place because it can cause changes in the brain, behavior, and neuromuscular function. People with Lyme disease are (absurdly) sometimes viewed as outcasts in society, which adds to the isolation and desperation these patients feel. So, what can you do?
Lyme disease organizations exist to help patients find support in their communities. Services, such as helping to find a knowledgeable LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor), can be lifesaving. Educating communities on how to avoid infectious tick bites is vital in curbing the growing endemic and benefits everyone in the long run. Even more importantly, public awareness will prevent Lyme disease patients from being stigmatized and gives them a better chance of getting the medical care they need. Please join in the fight against Lyme disease this month and throughout the year.
The stories are sad. The looming health crisis is downright scary. But, you can help raise awareness and funds for research this month. Check out the Lyme Disease Challenge, a light-hearted program geared toward getting coverage from news outlets and social media. The Lyme Disease Awareness Walks also take place during the month of May in communities all over the country. We ask you to join us in these efforts. Let’s help stop the growing plague of Lyme disease once and for all.
If you have any questions or need help protecting your family from these horrible little creatures, please contact NJ Pest Control. We can help you manage your yard and home and be free of ticks and in a GREEN way.