Well, spring is here, really? Is it April showers or May showers? In any case, here are some important spring health topics you may want to think about while you're hiding from the rain.
→ Lyme Disease, It's The Season
Lyme disease usually begins to show its ugly face in the spring, and this year does not appear to be an exception. It's too early for this year's official statistics, but last year showed a significant increase in the percentage of infected ticks, and a resulting increase in Lyme disease incidence in our area.
Endemic in our area, Lyme disease is caused by the bite of an infected deer tick, which then injects the Lyme-causing Borrelia bacteria through the skin of the affected person. If a large enough number of bacteria is injected, typically when the deer tick is attached to the skin for 24-48 hours, Lyme disease may develop. To make things more complicated, the same deer may carry other bacteria, those responsible for Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Cat Scratch Fever, which have symptoms overlapping with Lyme.
Symptoms may develop several days to several weeks after the bite, including fatigue, headache and stiff neck, fever and chills, muscle aches, joint pain, and swollen glands. But that's also typical of so many other conditions. So the diagnosis is not always clear cut.
The typical "bull's eye rash" appears in a minority of the cases. When it does appear, the diagnosis becomes easier.
Blood tests for Lyme detection may not become indicative for at least 2-3 weeks after infection, frequently after symptoms have already begun, and perhaps even resolved. According to many experts, false negative tests occur at an uncomfortably high rate, and the Lyme disease may go untreated for too long, which may lead to serious consequences such as chronic pain and neurologic damage.
Don't forget to inspect your body for presence of deer ticks, every time you do an outdoor activity such as gardening or playing sports on grass.
So, during this "Lyme season" and in our endemic area, if you have suspicious symptoms with no clear cut explanation, or an engorged tick is attached to your skin, seek medical evaluation (call us if you need some advice). Do so even if you are not sure you were bitten by the bug. Early treatment is key!
→ Ginger Root Has Value
If you have mild nausea and/or stomach discomfort, ginger, rather than prescription or over-the-counter medication, may help. It comes in many forms, the actual fresh root, a dried root preparation, a root oil extract, and even as a candy. It's been used for thousands of years, especially in the far east, and is worth a try. For some people it even works to relieve arthritic pain. Need additional information? Call us, I've got plenty to say on the topic...
→ A Spring Check-Up
House Calls Started This Year
House calls are meant for patients who are temporarily or permanently home bound, or for other good reasons can't make it into the office.
To schedule a house call: Tel (203) 853-1919; email firstname.lastname@example.org