Lyme Disease: What to Know and How To Prevent Misdiagnosis
The greater Philadelphia area and beyond are notorious for large tick populations and the proliferation of different types of disease they carry. The most common of which is Lyme disease.
Any time you are outside, particularly on hikes or in wooded areas, ticks are ever present – even during the winter months!
For the most part, ticks cause an irritating, itchy welt where the bite took place, which goes away in a few days. In other cases, ticks can cause debilitating and permanent damage to someone who has contracted Lyme disease. Based on the stage and how advanced the disease gets, one can suffer with the symptoms for weeks, months or even years.
Lyme Disease is not Rare
300,000 people have Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). At the local level, Pennsylvania saw nearly 5,000 cases, up from about 20% since they started keeping record in 2004.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
One of the trickiest parts about Lyme disease is that it takes a while before many of the symptoms start to show and so many of the symptoms overlap other common illnesses. In other words, there are very few obvious, tell tale signs of Lyme disease.
In all, the early symptoms include:
- A rash – The infamous ‘bull’s eye’ rash is typically seen where the bite took place. The bull’s eye appearance is caused because the center of the rash clears up before the outside. It is not always itchy or overly apparent but is the most common and most tell tale sign of a tick bite.
- Joint pain – Swelling within the body can impact joints, causing pain in the knees, shoulders, fingers, etc. Most people brush this off as typical pain, a bad night’s sleep, etc., making this a less apparent symptom.
- Flu-like symptoms – aches, chills and fever will eventually start to show. Many folks might mistake this for the common flu.
- Nervous system – Lyme can cause similar conditions to Meningitis and/or Bell’s Palsy (the weakening of muscles in the face, causing drooping facial features and paralysis (which can become permanent.)
- Other internal conditions – Lyme disease can impact the liver and heart, all of which are not overly apparent and can be confused with other conditions.
If you’ve been treated for an illness and have been suffering with the symptoms for weeks and months on end without relief, it’s possible that you may have Lyme disease and it was misdiagnosed. Day by day, this condition can eat away at your health and cause permanent damage to your body.
How to Avoid/Mitigate Lyme Disease
Have a good understanding of what ticks looks like the differences between the two most common types of ticks. Wood ticks are larger and less dangerous to you. Deer ticks, on the other hand, are smaller and can transfer Lyme disease.
Being ever vigilant against ticks is the best way to avoid Lyme disease. After a day outside, whether it by at a park, on a hike or at your child’s soccer practice, check yourself and any children for ticks and potential bite marks. Ticks like soft skin and don’t bite in obvious places, like the palm of your hand. Check armpits, around the belly button, groin, back of the knee and neck.
Additionally, be just as vigilant with any pets that spend time outdoors, such as dogs and cats. Both can easily bring in and transfer ticks from themselves to you or your children, and they can even get tick bites and disease themselves!
There are also medications that can be prescribed if you find or suspect a tick bite and can get to a doctor quickly enough. For the most part, these medications are only effective if you take them within a couple days of a bite. Beyond that, the earlier you can get medication, the better.
If you or a loved one has been unable to find relief from a medical condition and suspect a misdiagnosis of Lyme disease, give the law office of Murray L. Greenfield & Associates a call. Our experienced legal team can review the circumstances of your case and determine if a medical malpractice claim can be made due to misdiagnosis. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis which means that we don’t get paid unless you win your case. Put our 30 plus years of experience to work for you and call us today.