The Lowdown on Lyme
The first thing I noticed was that my son couldn’t shut his left eye. “Blink for me.” But only one shut. Then I noticed his mouth was drawn down. “Smile for me.” But only half went up. The pediatrician diagnosed him with Bell’s palsy and immediately put him on antibiotics for Lyme disease.
Lyme disease? But there was no bulls-eye rash, or joint pain or swollen lymph nodes. No one saw any bite marks where a tick might have been. But sure enough, the tests came back positive for the condition.
In hindsight, I realized he was extremely tired a lot, sleeping well past his normal time to get up. And, given he is a 10-year-old boy, it occurred to me his energy level was extremely low now that I thought of it. But it wasn’t until the Bell’s palsy set in that I realized something was wrong. I wonder how long we would have waited to go to the pediatrician if the facial symptoms hadn’t have surfaced.
According to the ADVANCE article, “Lyme Disease: A Complicated Diagnosis,” “40 percent of infected people don't display a rash. Lack of rash or failure to note the rash can lead to misdiagnosis, under-reporting and improper treatment.” But lucky for us, our pediatrician’s knowledge of Lyme disease helped her make an accurate diagnosis and start treatment even before the test results had been completed. And she had the information to help educate us more on the condition as well.
To help your patients and their family members learn more about Lyme disease and many other conditions, share ADVANCE Patient Handouts during patient exams. You can find the collection at www.advanceweb.com/NurseHandouts. “The Buzz on Bug Bites” highlights not only tick bites, but also mosquito bites and bee stings. And there are lots more handouts on diabetes care, safety, pregnancy and child health.
The more information you can give your patients, the better educated they will be to handle future health events that may come their way.