I miss out on a lot of nature experiences because I have…(echo voice)…fear of Lyme Disease!
A friend of mine went hiking in Pennsylvania in 1997. She covered herself up to prevent getting tick bites, but one got behind her ear and…(echo again)…she got Lyme Disease.
Last time I spoke to her, she was completing YEAR 9 of strong antibiotic treatment. She still had signs of the Lyme organisms in her body. After 9 years it is still detectable in her system and her doctor fears stopping the antibiotic because it might settle somewhere in her body and make her very ill.
This scares the shit out of me. I don’t tolerate antibiotics very well, they make me feel sicker than whatever it is I’m being treated for. So as you can imagine, I don’t go anywhere near tall grasses or the woods – and I LOVE the woods. I feel like I am missing out on the tranquility and spirituality that nature provides.
According to the website http://www.lyme.org: Lyme Disease accounts for 90% of vector-borne infections in the U.S. From 1980 to 2005 268,330 cases have been reported from 49 states. (For the latest figures go here.)
Montana is the only state having no federally reported cases of Lyme disease. Those patients who have acquired the infection in their state are not yet being reported past the state level.
Due to underreporting, the disease case count is likely to be 13 – 15 times higher. However, those are the cases that fit the government narrow case reporting criteria. The true number of cases may be significantly higher.
Evidence of infection has been found on all continents – from positive cultures, to positive antibody tests with clinical signs, to infected ticks on birds.
YIKES!!! Maybe I’m not phobic after all!