Currently viewing the tag: "Lyme disease"

Deb Abraham Spalding

Ticks

Incidents of Lyme disease in people are on the rise in our area, while the incidents of Lyme disease in our dogs are on the decline. Our Blacklegged (Deer) Tick is the culprit. Other local tick species like the Brown Dog Tick and the American Dog Tick are not known to transfer Lyme but can transfer other diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to pets and people.

Pets: Trish Hahn, a veterinary technician with the Catoctin Veterinary Clinic in Thurmont, explains that there’s a 99 percent effective Lyme vaccine available for your dogs, which substantially decreases the incidents of Lyme. There are also various flea and tick treatments, topical and oral, that are effective as well. These reliable flea and tick products kill the tick before there is a blood exchange, thus preventing disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in a dog are lethargy, loss of appetite, and kidney damage if left too long without treatment. From the point of the bite, symptoms may begin within 24 hours. Trish explained that we don’t see Lyme disease in cats.

People: Jenice Palachick, CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner) in Dr. Cooper’s office in Thurmont, formerly worked with Dr. Timothy Stonesifer at the Cumberland Valley Parochial Medical Clinic in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Stonesifer runs his clinic as a family practice, with a specialty in Lyme. Having prior experience with diagnosing and treating Lyme disease is a useful resource for Jenice while working in general practice at Dr. Cooper’s office, but she often consults with Dr. Stonesifer if she suspects Lyme.

Typical symptoms of Lyme can be difficult to diagnose because they mimic so many other ailments. They include fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and, about 30 percent of the time, a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. Every case of Lyme disease is unique. Thus, treatment for each case is a journey of trial and error. Jenise said, “I’ve been fooled before. It’s not that simple.” The symptoms are so broad, especially in the chronic phase where symptoms have gone on for years.

Jenice suggests that the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is in place when preventing Lyme. When outside in the tick’s natural habitat, wear long pants tucked into your socks. Buy clothes that are infused with pyrethrum, which is a natural repellent to ticks. Use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered ingredient, such as DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Wear light colored clothing. Do a tick check after being outside. Ticks love the scalp, behind the ears, and the groin area. Ticks can be as small as a pin head.

For more about Lyme Disease, read the ‘Ask Dr. Lo’ column in the Health Matters Section on page 56.

Snakes

(Correction from this article in June’s issue: our water snakes are not venomous. The Cottonmouth water moccasin mentioned can be found in southern Virginia and other southern areas.)

There are two kinds of venomous snakes in our local area: timber rattlesnakes and copperheads. They are rarely aggressive. The easiest way to determine how to treat a snake bite is to look at the eyes of the culprit. Venomous snakes have elliptical pupils while non-venomous have round pupils. Venomous snakes have hollow retractable fangs while nonvenomous snakes lack fangs. Venomous snakes have a triangular shaped head while nonvenomous snakes have a rounded head. Please don’t assume that all snakes are venomous, but please do assume that all snakes can bite.

Pets: Though not all snakes have a deadly venom, a snake bite will still cause discomfort and stress for your pet, so please take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your pet was bitten by a venomous snake, it will need antivenom.

People: On May 19, 2019, while hiking with her wife Sarah, two dogs and friends, Lindsay Klampe was bitten by a rattlesnake (actual snake shown in photo).  She was wearing shorts and sneakers while hiking from Hog Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park to Cunningham Falls in Cunningham Falls State Park.

Lindsay said, upon feeling the bite, “Adrenaline took over. I jumped and started running.” She ran about a quarter mile from where the bite occurred to the falls parking lot along Route 77. Meanwhile, Sarah called 911.

Ambulance personnel transported Lindsay to Frederick Memorial Hospital where, within 1 hour and 15 minutes from when the bite occurred, she was injected with antivenom.

Lyndsay said she plans to get back to hiking but will wear hiking boots and pants in the future since she feels that ankle-covering boots could have served as a barrier of protection and prevented the bite from penetrating her skin.

UpToDate clinical first aid for a venomous snake bite suggests keeping the victim warm, at rest, and calm while initially elevating the injured part of the body to the level of the heart. Remove any rings, watches, or constrictive clothing from the affected extremity. Rush to the nearest medical facility using emergency medical services.

For Pets and People: In case of a non-venomous bite, clean the wound, apply a clean dressing, and go about your day while monitoring for any changes in condition like swelling, dizziness or clamminess, or changes in breathing. If any of these changes occur, seek medical attention.

In the case of a venomous bite, take emergency action to get to an emergency room where an antivenom can be injected.

Bears

The National Park Service has posted bear safety tips on its website. The biggest prevention tip is: Make a lot of noise. The bears in our local parks are black bears. They are not normally aggressive or threatening, and mostly just want to be left alone. So, being a loud hiker or camper may deter their interest. But, if you encounter one, keep in mind that they are very curious. That’s not to say they won’t be aggressive or threatening if they are protecting their young or hungry in pursuit of food, and you get in the way.

People: If confronted with a black bear, stand tall with arms stretched above your head so you appear bigger than you are. Talk in a normal tone to the bear, so it determines that you are a human and not a meal. Stay calm. Do not run away or climb a tree; a bear can do those things better than you.

Bear pepper spray is available for purchase and can be a part of your safety regimen while in the wild. Most importantly, if any bear attacks you in your tent, or stalks you and then attacks, do NOT play dead—fight back!

Pets: If you encounter a Black Bear while with your dog, keep your dog on a leash, calmly control your pet, talk in a normal tone, and make yourself big as explained above. Give a Black Bear enough room to retreat since Black Bears usually avoid confrontation.

Lyme Disease: Recognize the Signs and Symptoms

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic

& Nutritional Healing Center

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease (3 to 30 days) after a tick bite are fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. The erythema migrans (EM) rash occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons with Lyme’s, beginning at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days). It expands gradually over a period of days, reaching up to 12 inches or more across. Sometimes, it will clear as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bull’s-eye” appearance.

Later signs and symptoms (days to months) of untreated Lyme infection 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. More symptoms are facial palsy; 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; nerve pain; shooting pains; numbness and tingling in the hands or feet; and problems with short-term memory can occur at later stages.   

Of note about Lyme’s is that a small bump and/or redness at the site of a tick bite that occurs immediately and resembles a mosquito bite is common. This irritation generally goes away in one to two days and is not a sign of Lyme disease.

A rash with a very similar appearance to EM occurs with Southern Tick-associated Rash Illness (STARI), but is not Lyme disease.

Ticks can spread other organisms that may cause a different type of rash.

How do ticks transmit Lyme disease?

The blacklegged tick (or deer tick) spreads Lyme disease in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States. The western-blacklegged tick spreads the disease on the Pacific Coast.

Ticks attach themselves to any part of the body and are often found in hard-to-see areas, such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the tick is attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.

Most people are infected through the bites of immature ticks, called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny (less than 2 mm) and difficult to see; they feed during the spring and summer months.

Adult ticks also transmit Lyme disease but are much larger and are more likely to be removed before they have had time to transmit the bacteria. Adult deer ticks are most active during the cooler months of the year.

Ticks not known to transmit Lyme disease include Lone Star ticks, the American dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick.

How do I limit my exposure to ticks?

Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active during warmer months (April-September). Reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other tick-borne infections. You and your family can take several steps to prevent and control Lyme disease.

Before you go outdoors, know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks.

   Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin. Permethrin is used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear, and will remain protective through several washings. There are many insect repellents—some natural—that can help you combat your exposure to ticks. Always follow the product instructions. Use some precautions when using insect repellent. Do not use on babies younger than two months old, do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under three years old, try to avoid contact with ticks by staying away from brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, and stay on well groomed trails when walking or hiking outdoors.

Once indoors, check your clothing for ticks. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, consider a longer dry time. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is best, as cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks.

Examine your gear and pets. Ticks ride into the home on clothing and pets.

Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors is shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tick-borne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.

Conduct a full body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks: under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, back of the knees, in and around the hair, between the legs, and around your waist.

How do I prevent ticks from getting on my pet?

Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tick-borne diseases. Vaccines are not available for most of the tick-borne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it is suggested that you use a tick preventive product on your dog.

Tick bites on dogs may be hard to detect. Signs of tick-borne disease may not appear for 7 to 21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick. Ask your veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for your dog.

Note that cats are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals. Do not apply any tick prevention products to your cats without first asking your veterinarian.

In September 2018, the FDA put out a warning about “Potential Adverse Events associated with Isoxazoline Flea and Tick Products.” For additional information, please talk to your veterinarian.

How do I prevent ticks in my yard?

Here are some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce tick populations. Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns. Place a 3-foot-wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.

Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked. Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on). Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees, and place them in a sunny location, if possible.

Do you think you may have Lyme disease?

Are you struggling with some of the symptoms mentioned in the article? Call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free screening. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. We hold free seminars at the office on rotating Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at www.doctorlo.com.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Ticks

Incidents of Lyme disease in people are on the rise in our area, while the incidents of Lyme disease in our dogs are on the decline. Our Blacklegged (Deer) Tick is the culprit. Other local tick species like the Brown Dog Tick and the American Dog Tick are not known to transfer Lyme but can transfer other diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to pets and people.

Pets: Trish Hahn, a veterinary technician with the Catoctin Veterinary Clinic in Thurmont, explains that there’s a 99 percent effective Lyme vaccine available for your dogs, which substantially decreases the incidents of Lyme. There are also various flea and tick treatments, topical and oral, that are effective as well. These reliable flea and tick products kill the tick before there is a blood exchange, thus preventing disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease in a dog are lethargy, loss of appetite, and kidney damage if left too long without treatment. From the point of the bite, symptoms may begin within 24 hours. Trish explained that we don’t see Lyme disease in cats.

People: Jenice Palachick, CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner) in Dr. Cooper’s office in Thurmont, formerly worked with Dr. Timothy Stonesifer at the Cumberland Valley Parochial Medical Clinic in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Dr. Stonesifer runs his clinic as a family practice, with a specialty in Lyme. Having prior experience with diagnosing and treating Lyme disease is a useful resource for Jenice while working in general practice at Dr. Cooper’s office, but she often consults with Dr. Stonesifer if she suspects Lyme.

Typical symptoms of Lyme can be difficult to diagnose because they mimic so many other ailments. They include fever, headache, fatigue, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and, about 30 percent of the time, a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. Every case of Lyme disease is unique. Thus, treatment for each case is a journey of trial and error. Jenise said, “I’ve been fooled before. It’s not that simple.” The symptoms are so broad, especially in the chronic phase where symptoms have gone on for years.

Jenice suggests that the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is in place when preventing Lyme. When outside in the tick’s natural habitat, wear long pants tucked into your socks. Buy clothes that are infused with pyrethrum, which is a natural repellent to ticks. Use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered ingredient, such as DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Wear light colored clothing. Do a tick check after being outside. Ticks love the scalp, behind the ears, and the groin area. Ticks can be as small as a pin head.

Snakes

There are three kinds of venomous snakes in our local woods and waterways; rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins. The easiest way to determine how to treat a snake bite is to look at the eyes of the culprit. Venomous snakes have elliptical pupils while non-venomous have round pupils. Venomous snakes have hollow retractable fangs while nonvenomous snakes lack fangs. Venomous snakes have a triangular shaped head while nonvenomous snakes have a rounded head. Please don’t assume that all snakes are venomous, but please do assume that all snakes can bite.

Pets: Though not all snakes have a deadly venom, a snake bite will still cause discomfort and stress for your pet, so please take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your pet was bitten by a venomous snake, it will need antivenom.

People: On May 19, 2019, while hiking with her wife Sarah, two dogs and friends, Lindsay Klampe was bitten by a rattlesnake (actual snake shown in photo).  She was wearing shorts and sneakers while hiking from Hog Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park to Cunningham Falls in Cunningham Falls State Park.

Lindsay said, upon feeling the bite, “Adrenaline took over. I jumped and started running.” She ran about a quarter mile from where the bite occurred to the falls parking lot along Route 77. Meanwhile Sarah called 911.

Ambulance personnel transported Lindsay to Frederick Memorial Hospital where, within 1 hour and 15 minutes from when the bite occurred, she was injected with antivenom.

Lyndsay said she plans to get back to hiking, but will wear hiking boots and pants in the future since she feels that ankle-covering boots could have served as a barrier of protection and prevented the bite from penetrating her skin.

UpToDate clinical first aid for a venomous snake bite suggests to keep the victim warm, at rest, and calm while initially elevating the injured part of the body to the level of the heart. Remove any rings, watches, or constrictive clothing from the affected extremity. Rush to the nearest medical facility using emergency medical services.

For Pets and People: In case of a non-venomous bite, clean the wound, apply a clean dressing, and go about your day while monitoring for any changes in condition like swelling, dizziness or clamminess, or changes in breathing. If any of these changes occur, seek medical attention.

In the case of a venomous bite, take emergency action to get to an emergency room where an antivenom can be injected.

Bears

The National Park Service has posted bear safety tips on its website. The biggest prevention tip is: Make a lot of noise. The bears in our local parks are black bears. They are not normally aggressive or threatening, and mostly just want to be left alone. So, being a loud hiker or camper will deter their interest. But, if you encounter one, keep in mind that they are more curious than anything. That’s not to say they won’t be aggressive or threatening if they are protecting their young or hungry in pursuit of food, and you get in the way.

People: If confronted with a black bear, stand tall with arms stretched above your head so you appear bigger than you are. Talk in a normal tone to the bear, so it determines that you are a human and not a meal. Stay calm. Do not run away or climb a tree; a bear can do those things better than you.

Bear pepper spray is available for purchase and can be a part of your safety regimen while in the wild. Most importantly, if any bear attacks you in your tent, or stalks you and then attacks, do NOT play dead—fight back!

Pets: If you encounter a Black Bear while with your dog, keep your dog on a leash, calmly control your pet, talk in a normal tone and make yourself big as explained above. Give a Black Bear enough room to retreat since Black Bears usually avoid confrontation.