You don't hear about Lyme disease very often, so many people are unaware of the symptoms and what it is like to live with Lyme disease. Well, let me be the first to say that Lyme disease is nothing to mess around with.
Lyme disease is an infection transmitted to humans by deer ticks. Some early signs of Lyme disease include a rash (most likely will look like a bulls-eye) around the tick bite. joint pain, joint swelling, headaches and flu-like symptoms.
I got Lyme disease when I was eight years old. It made both my knees swell up to double their size. I couldn't walk and I relied on my parents to help me around the house when necessary. I had to take doxycycline, which is a big blue pill that we used to jokingly call horse pills. Once the swelling went down and I was finished with my medicine, I was quick to find out that Lyme disease doesn't go away once you get it. I will forever test positive for Lyme disease (no it's not contagious) and will live with it the rest of my life.
What does that mean? Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? It means I am always at risk of reoccurring symptoms, which I got in the seventh grade when my right knee swelled back up again. Luckily I was able to borrow some crutches from a relative so I could actually walk and go to school. This also led to another round of doxycycline. I found out you have to take it after you eat and never on an empty stomach (I knew better, but I still risked it). Even though I took all my medicine and my swelling went down, I still have other symptoms I have to live with like joint pain and fatigue. I am constantly sore as well as getting tired easily. Exercising is a challenge because I can get sore too soon and running is not fun because I get out of breath.
Lyme disease affects more than just your joints; it affects your heart as well. I got lucky and haven't gotten any symptoms affecting my heart. But who knows how lucky I will be in the future? Lyme disease is part of who I am now and some people don't understand that.
There are things you can do to prevent Lyme disease. Always wear bug spray, and make sure you are always checking yourself for ticks. Educate yourself on the disease and if you do get bitten by a deer tick, make sure you keep an eye on the site where you were bitten and consult a doctor with any concerns. Try to avoid spending a lot of time in tall grass or even in thick woodsy areas. Lastly, make sure you check your animals for ticks because Lyme disease affects more than just humans.