Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by “Borrelia burgdorferi” and is transmitted to humans through a tick bite. Anyone could be the next victim of this life threatening disease; over three hundred thousand people in the United States are diagnosed each year. In 2015 alone, there were 1,373 cases of Lyme that were diagnosed. This is 1,373 people at risk of declining to the same condition as Goffstown High School alumni, Ashley Lynch who is currently battling Lyme Disease at the Envita Medical Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Lyme disease can only be contracted if a tick was attached to your body for twenty four to forty eight hours or longer. According to Nick Dupuis an Internal Medical Physician at Portland Medical Center in Portland Maine, “Patients could be diagnosed with early localized Lyme within days to weeks with the typical erythema migrans (bullseye) rash and also have systematic symptoms typical of a viral illness (fever, chills, muscle aches, joint aches, fatigue).” Dupuis also explained that when a tick attaches itself to your body the bacterium travels through the bloodstream, spreads to joints, the nervous system and then could cause a bacterial infection in the body. In fact, 30% to 80% of patients with Lyme disease will develop a rash.
Every individual reacts to the Lyme disease differently. 30% will develop the popular bullseye rash. Some can contract the disease and have no symptoms at all while others completely lose control over their body leaving them unable to walk, talk, or do anything on their own. After everything Ashley has been through, she hopes to spread awareness of Lyme and how to prevent the contraction of this vicious disease.
If you find a tick on you the best thing to do is to seek medical attention early. If the disease is caught early, an antibiotic can be given and no further symptoms will occur. When the disease goes untreated that it starts to get very serious.
When surveying the Goffstown High School community, Ms. Phillibotte’s fourth block College Composition class discovered that over 50% of the student population believed that a bullseye rash needed to be present to have Lyme, and over 40% of the school population did not find it necessary to seek medical attention if bitten by a tick. Most importantly, only 43% of the school’s population knows how to properly remove a tick. Living in New Hampshire, a rural area, there are higher odds of being bitten by a tick. Ashley Lynch believes it is important to develop awareness about the dangers of Lyme disease, how to properly remove a tick, and when to seek medical attention.