Delaware Woman, Abby Webb, Asks You to Participate in the “Take a Bite Out of Lyme Disease” Challenge
Rehoboth Beach native Abby Webb is someone who can tell you this first hand. Webb was first diagnosed with the disease at age 20. After several tests, a Western blot test confirmed Lyme disease. At 29, Webb continues to battle the disease and spread awareness in every way possible.
Lyme disease is an infection cause by Borrelia burgdorferi, a type of bacterium called a spirochete that is carried by deer ticks. An infected tick can transmit the spirochete to the humans and animals it bites. Untreated, the bacterium travels through the bloodstream, establishes itself in various body tissues, and can cause a number of symptoms, some of which are severe (aldf.com).
Lyme disease is most common on the east coast, and is even considered abundant the more north you travel. There are several signs and symptoms of this disease and they typically occur in three stages which makes it even more difficult for doctors to diagnose.
According to TeensHealth, the three stages of the disease are as follows:
- A circular rash at the site of the tick bite, typically within 1-2 weeks of infection, often is the first sign of infection. Although it’s considered typical of Lyme disease, many people never develop one.
The rash sometimes has a characteristic “bull’s-eye” appearance, with a central red spot surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. It also can appear as an expanding ring of solid redness. It’s usually flat and painless, but sometimes can be warm to the touch, itchy, scaly, burning, or prickling. The rash may appear and feel very different from one person to the next, and it might be more difficult to see on people with darker skin tones, where it can look like a bruise. It expands over the course of days to weeks, and eventually disappears on its own. Along with the rash, a person may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches.
- Left untreated, symptoms of the initial illness may go away on their own. But in some people, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms of this stage of Lyme disease usually appear within several weeks after the tick bite, even in someone who has not developed the initial rash. The person may feel very tired and unwell, or may have more areas of rash that aren’t at the site of the bite.Lyme disease can affect the heart. This can lead to an irregular heart rhythm, which can result in dizziness or heart palpitations. It can also spread to the nervous system, causing facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy), or meningitis.
- The last stage of Lyme disease can occur if the early stages of the disease were not detected or appropriately treated. Symptoms of late Lyme disease can appear any time from weeks to years (average of 6 months) after an infectious tick bite, and in children and teens is almost always in the form of arthritis, with swelling and tenderness particularly in the knees or other large joints.
If you’re treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of the disease, you are likely to recover completely, however, in later stages, response to treatment may be slower.
63% of Lyme patients treated with antibiotics continued to suffer post treatment symptoms at a cost of up to $1.3 billion in health care costs annually. Post treatment symptoms may include debilitating fatigue, neuropathy, arthopathy, memory loss, acute/chronic pain, and/or muscoloskeletal symptoms (journals.plos.org).
If you have had a tick and are worried about Lyme Disease, you will be relieved to know that only a minority of deer tick bites leads to the disease. This however does not mean you should not see a doctor right away. The longer the tick remains attached to your skin, the greater your risk of getting the disease. Treatment for Lyme disease is most effective if begun early (mayoclinic.org).
Even if the symptoms disappear, it is still very important to consult your doctor because the absence of symptoms does not mean the disease is gone. If the disease is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of your body from several months to years after infection, causing arthritis and nervous system problems (mayoclinic.org).
How Our Neighbors Are Helping
Peter Schwartzkopf and Sen. Lopez have personally worked with Abby Webb whose story helped prompt this Task Force. Schwartzkopf and Lopez say issue is very important to the co-chairs, not just because of their constituent Abby’s experience but also the sheer multitude of Lyme Disease patients that have shared their challenging experiences battling Lyme Disease from across the state.
The Lyme Disease Task Force in Delaware was established in July 2014 through SJR 10. Members for the task force were compiled through the summer and fall. The organization had their first meeting in January and the second in February. The next meeting is on Monday, March 23rd. During these meetings, a number of patients have attended, each sharing their story. Many of the members of the Task Force have personal experiences as a patient or with a family member as a patient.
Speaker Schwartzkopf explains the task force in the video below:
Join the Cause
This is a disease that affects more and more people every day which gives the public several opportunities to help the cause. You can help the cause and stand with those suffering from Lyme Disease who face daily challenges to diagnosis, treatment and research.
It is called the “Take a Bite Out of Lyme Disease” Challenge and it kicked off March 1st. The purpose of this challenge is to raise awareness and funding or improved Lyme Disease diagnosis and treatment, while of course having a fun time.
Webb called WBOC out to complete the challenge. Sean Streicher took a “bite out of lyme” to help raise awareness! Sean then challenged WBOC Sports Director, Scott Abraham to do the challenge. You can take the challenge too, and then challenge your friends!
This challenge can be completed in three easy steps!
- TAKE A BITE:Bite a lime and TAKE A PHOTO OR A SHORT VIDEO of the act – the more sourpuss your face, the better (and funnier!).
- SHARE A FACT:State ONE BRIEF FACT ABOUT LYME DISEASE, such as the facts provided below. You can say them in your video, write them on your photo, or include them in your post. Help us spread the true facts about Lyme Disease!
- PASS IT ON:Keep the campaign going — CHALLENGE THREE OTHER PEOPLE – your friends, family, whomever! – to take a bite! Mention them in your video or if you do a photo tag them in your post.
- Post it all to your favorite social media outlets. In your posts tag your video or photo with #LymeDiseaseChallenge
See more people who have completed this challenge here–> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iENCMmutA84