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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

The Lowdown on Lyme

Published August 6, 2012 9:24 AM by Pam Tarapchak

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 “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.


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Thomasgoppy Thomasgoppy, , Test, just a test Thomasgoppy October 13, 2018 7:54 AM
Toledo IL

Dolores Claesson

12:19am Aug 6

'Lymies...I would get all these tests...Western Blot for Borrelia, also test for Borrelia hermsii, and Babesia duncani and microti and Quest can test for duncani, Bartonella henselae and quintana, Brucella, Tularemia, Coxiella burnetti or Q fever, many rickettsias ie Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Typhus, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, EBV, CMV, all Coxsackie viruses, and now Powassan virus and its cousin Deer Tick Virus, HSV 1 and 2, HHV 1-8 if available. Parvovirus B -19 papillomaviruses, Toxoplasmosis, Chlamydias and Mycoplasmas and get genetic tests for hypercoagulation like Mthfr and Factor V leiden, and test all your IgG subclasses 1-4, and CD 57 and C3a and C4a and CBS mutations and HPU/KPU and mold testing since so many of us have issues with mold. ECP or eoisonophil cationic protein seems to suggest to docs that you have babesia. Also transfer growth factor b-1 and Beta Strep. High CD 57 counts may be associated with Beta Strep. Heavy metals have a part in this and we are low in Secosteroid D or vitamin D and some are low in Potassium and others iron. Many are deficient in all amino acids. Our hormones are a mess and the whole HPA Hypothalmic pituitary axis is the problem. We can have probs with our adrenals and thryoid...we do not convert T4 to T3 and in my case I have high reverse T3 or rT3. We are quite low in testosterone as well. Check out every hormone in your body, amino acids and vitamins and minerals. There are over 100 viruses we can get from a tick and also many parasites. The labs that insurance covers can't find a parasite when we can see it under the microscope. Quest at Nichols Institute in Valencia California can culture samples and might even be able to distinguish Brucella suis from melitensis or arbortus. We also need an MRI of our brain with and without contrast. Many lymies are showing up with pituitary adenomas and pheomchromocytomas. Make sure that you do not have these. I have spent years trying to figure out what is in us and so far this is what I have seen. Unfortunately when your physician may take years to order all the necessary tests. Make sure you get tested sooner rather than later. One more thing may get tested for Brucella today and 2 years from now may show up IgM positive. The immune system is overwhelmed with all these pathogens.'See More

Dolores Claesson August 7, 2012 8:42 AM
Land O' Lakes FL

You are very lucky, for our daughter's pediatrician told us some people just have a crooked smile when it was Bell's Palsy.  In addition I mentioned that I thought her immune system was not working properly and he dismissed that as well.  Years later, we found that she has low IgG sub classes and has tested positive for Borrelia, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Babesia duncani, Bartonella, Brucella, EBV, CMV, Parvo Virus B-19, Papillomaviruses, and had a mosaic wart (sign of weakened immune function), Coxsackie A and B viruses, HHV 6, and of course HSV 1 associated with Bells Palsy.  

Dolores Claesson August 7, 2012 8:09 AM

Lyme disease has been greatly under-detected & treated.  I have several friends (both kids & adults) that were only diagnosed after suffering with secondary stage Lyme's symptoms - one completely recovered - two still have residual problems of weakness, brain "fog" or dizziness.  We have also seen an increase in patients diagnosed with Lymes by the titer, but not necessarily with a confirmed tick bite or bull-eye rash.  As nurses, we need to help spread the word on this devastating disease!!

kathy vollmer, Internal Medicine - BSN, Dr's office August 6, 2012 1:30 PM
Camp Hill PA

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