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Lyme test concerns

Open walking trails through the woods are a way to avoid ticks
Open walking trails through the woods are a way to avoid ticks

A very controversial area of health is Lyme disease. This tick born infection has been a source of controversy for years. The diagnosis is often missed. Patients often do not even know they have been bitten. Treatment for the disease is also hard on the body. The effects of the disease can be devastating to people.

Recently the CDC issued a warning about a particular culture test used for detecting the spirochete that causes the disease. The concern was that the test created too many false positives that could lead to unnecessary or inappropriate treatment. The CDC does provide a list of approved laboratory tests for Lyme disease.

The difficulty is that Lyme disease manifests in ways that can mimic many other serious conditions, making diagnosis difficult. Approved tests are not perfect, and there are various people using unapproved testing methods to determine the presence of the disease. When patients get frustrated with the medical establishment they often turn to alternative treatments to treat what they believe to be Lyme or the chronic effects of Lyme disease. Desperation and lack of clear answers is a recipe for people to take advantage of the patient with expensive cures and treatments. Some of these can be helpful, but it is a buyer beware situation. Patients should be wary of anything that sounds too good to be true, or is marketed with a conspiracy theory as to why the physicians are not using it.

The best way to deal with Lyme disease is prevention. If you are going to be out in tick prone areas make sure you use a DEET insect repellant on exposed skin and treat clothing. Always do a thorough body check for ticks after you are out in the woods or meadows. If you find a tick, use a tweezers to pull the tick away from the skin. You may even want to take some of the local skin with the tick just to be sure. If you develop a fever a week or two after a tick bite or after an outdoor trip- seek medical attention and get tested for Lyme. Fast treatment is key to avoiding some of the severe affects of the disease.