By Elizabeth Large, ND
Children are being misdiagnosed too frequently when they actually have Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) or Tick Borne Disease (TBD). It is very important that parents, teachers, school administrators, school health professionals, pediatricians, mental health professionals and family members learn to understand the signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease. It is an epidemic and children are at high risk for contracting TBD. We need to identify both acute and chronic, persistent TBD. Acute infection is defined as infection for less than a year and easily treated with 6-12 weeks of antibiotics depending on the symptoms present. If a Bull’s Eye rash does occur then it is diagnostic of LD. Unfortunately only 15-30% of the time a Bull’s Eye rash occurs and other types of rash can present and not only around the tick bite site. The chronic form of CLD can be devastating and difficult to eradicate. It impacts all body systems especially the immune system, hormonal system and nervous system. The body begins to respond inappropriately creating further symptoms that can be painful and debilitating.
The primary take home message with children is that their symptoms can be subtle and easily written off as growing pains or increased emotional sensitivity until there is frank disability. Then they lose their normal childhood of playing with friends, participating in school activities, and other recreation outside of school. They lose the energy to lead normal lives. They become too sick.