Imagine traveling abroad enjoying the scenery, the food, the friends, the laughter. One day you’re visiting a beautiful country side and decide to go for a hike: You get turned around directionally and realize that if you cut through the forest you can make it to the connecting trail. The failure in this thought is forgetting that Europe, especially northern Europe, is infected with ticks carrying Lyme disease. You do find that connecting trail and take a sigh of relief – at least you didn’t get lost forever. When you do find your way out, you find yourself in an open grassy field with the sun beating on you. You also see that ticks are crawling on your pants from trudging through the thick forest floor. Panic! This isn’t the first time you’ve gotten bit by a tick. In fact, you’re really diligent, and swipe them off of your pants. You get back to the cabin, and have your partner do a thorough exam on your body looking for lone stragglers. You think that you are clear…until two weeks later you find one engorged on your calf. You panic! Pull the tick off without using the proper tweezers. Then three days later the classic bullseye begins to form. You now have Lyme disease.
Actually, this is my story except it didn’t stop there. I went on Doxycycline three weeks after my infection because the doctors back home didn’t know what Lyme disease was. I had a horrible herxing reaction that left me miserable for another three weeks. After my antibiotics were completed, I still didn’t feel well. I went to my naturopath and started my treatments. Since then I have spent thousands of dollars, and have seen at least six doctors. My Lyme disease test was taken after my antibiotic treatment, so it came back negative. Luckily for me, I had four doctors confirm that I have Lyme disease. The crazy part of Lyme is that the tests are highly inaccurate, and even if they come back negative you’re actually positive. If you developed a bullseye rash, you had / have Lyme. Luckily for you, if you start antibiotics right away you might be able to cure it. That’s only if you find the tick as they are about the size of a pinhead, or a period in a sentence. It only takes 36-48 hours to be infected so time is of the essence.
So why am I sharing this with you? Well, I’ve had other blog sites, and I belong to some online groups, but truth be told I really didn’t feel like I was reaching anyone. I contracted Lyme disease twice while visiting my family in Sweden. Contracting a disease on vacation isn’t something that we really think about. This blog is mainly focusing on what you can do to prevent Lyme disease, and how you can find help (hopefully). I’ll also cover dietary information, and how to pack and eat healthy while traveling abroad.
If you ever have questions feel free to reach out.
All of the best,