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Lyme disease is painful, scary and difficult to diagnose



Nine-year-old Sam Mayfield did not know what he had – only that it was bad enough to keep him sick and painful at home for most of his entire school year. His neck hurt. His stomach hurt. Swallow hurts.

"It was awful," his mother Teresa Mayfield said in tears on Wednesday evening. "As a mother, there is no worse feeling than" I can not help. I can not make him better.

His doctors did not know either – they diagnosed sore throat and then mononucleosis – tests for both came back negative, Sam became so ill that he did not want to leave the couch, and his mother started worrying about him

He has not.

The repeated misdiagnoses were common side effects of a growing national health crisis: Lyme disease, a tick-borne disease

which the CDC found twice as frequently in 201

6

as before 15

That's the time Theresa Haselmeyer, a nurse and health trainer from Norwood, needed to get a diagnosis for her own case of Lyme disease. Like Sam, she struggled with symptoms – joint pain, headache, nerve damage, Fever and fatigue – which were due to a variety of health conditions, which made it more difficult, the real problem m to identify.

"I was ill for 15 years before I ever had a Lyme disease diagnosis," she said. "I'm a nurse, I'm a medical doctor."

And it was still a long struggle to find out what was going on.

Andrew Rosendale, an assistant professor at Mt. St. Joseph University said the good news is that doctors are working to improve the diagnosis of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

"Part of it is a heightened awareness," he said. "We're starting to have a better idea of ​​what tick-borne diseases are, some of them have been around for some time, and we're only beginning to see them as the cause of tick bites."

The bad news is that experts in medicine and zoology do not know exactly why they occur more frequently.

] One possible factor is the movement of disease-transmitting ticks, especially Lyme disease, outside their historical range but has emigrated to Ohio in recent years.

Another is the climate.

"It seems we have milder winters," he said, "and this allows several species of ticks to become more active during more parts of the year and their distribution is also changing. "

Finally, Teresa Mayfield had to do her own research online It is important to your son's doctors that they correctly identify his condition as Lyme disease. Four weeks of antibiotics helped Sam recover and return to school, but the now 10-year-old is concerned with persistent symptoms, she said.

Some former victims of Lyme disease live with lasting effects throughout their lives.

"It's just awful," Mayfield said. "It would be my hope that no one would ever have to go through this or watch his child go through it."


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