Anyone is at risk for Lyme disease. Children aged 3-14 are at the greatest risk for contracting the illness, with an estimated 200 cases per day in the U.S.A., alone.
In the early 1970's, a mysterious ailment was discovered among children living around the town of Lyme, CT. What was first diagnosed as isolated cases of juvenile arthritis, eventually became known as Lyme disease, an illness triggered by spiral-shaped bacteria, similar to the microorganisms that cause syphilis. Today, many of those untreated will suffer chronic debilitating illness. Some unknowingly will pass the disease onto their unborn children. Many will lose their livelihoods, and still others, their lives.
Yet Lyme disease is one of the most misunderstood and controversial illnesses of our time. Difficult to test accurately, tens of thousands of people go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with such conditions as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autism, MS and ALS. The Centers for Disease Control estimates more than 300,000 people acquire Lyme disease each year, a number greater than breast cancers and AIDS combined. And yet, the medical establishment with profound influence from the insurance industry has stated that the disease is easily detectable and treatable, and that “chronic Lyme” is some other unrecognized syndrome or a completely psychosomatic disorder.
UNDER OUR SKIN is a powerful and often terrifying look not only at the science and politics of the disease, but also the personal stories of those whose lives have been affected and nearly destroyed. From a few brave doctors who risk their medical licenses, to patients who once led active lives but now can barely walk, the film uncovers a hidden world that will astound viewers. While exposing a broken health care and medical research system, the film also gives voice to those who believe that instead of a crisis, Lyme is simply a "disease du jour," over diagnosed and contributing to another crisis: the looming resistance of microbes and ineffectuality of antibiotics.
As suspenseful and hair-raising as any Hollywood thriller, UNDER OUR SKIN is sure to get under yours.
Filmmaker, Andy Abrahams Wilson talks about his recently completed documentary, "Under Our Skin," which explores Lyme Disease.
Who Can Get Lyme Disease?
Anyone is at risk for Lyme disease. Children aged 3-14 are at the greatest risk for contracting the illness, with an estimated 200 cases per day in the U.S.A.
Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria are carried by the blacklegged tick, also known as the deer tick (pictured). When an infected tick bites you, it can transfer bacteria under the skin, leading to infection.
Anyone is at risk for Lyme disease. Children aged 3-14 are at the greatest risk for contracting the illness, with an estimated 200 cases per day in the U.S.
Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. Ticks look for hosts to feed--hosts can include pets (dogs and cats), deer, mice, birds, squirrels, some reptiles, and yes, people. Blacklegged ticks can also carry other pathogens, such as Babesia, Ehrlichia, and Powassan Virus.
The length of time to transmit disease can vary based on the type of tick and the stage (age) of the tick. Experimental studies have shown that the Powassan virus, transmitted by blacklegged ticks, can be transmitted within 15 minutes of attachment. Research shows that Lyme-causing bacteria takes more than 24 hours to transmit from tick to host, but there are many debates and caveats on exact transmission time. Most importantly, it’s vital to remove an attached tick as soon as it’s found, and to remove it properly to avoid the spread of pathogens.
While most new cases of Lyme disease are reported in the summer months, warmer temperatures mean ticks are active throughout the year.
If diagnosed and treated early, many patients recover. However, if not diagnosed and treated early, Lyme disease can develop into a chronic illness that leads to long-term, serious health problems and reduced quality of life. For patients that are treated early, research shows that up to 20% will continue to experience from symptoms of Lyme.
• Flu-like illness with fever & chills
• Severe fatigue unrelieved by sleep
• Severe fatigue unrelieved by sleep
• Headaches and/or neck pain
• Nausea, abdominal cramping, gastritis
• Joint pain, arthritis, swollen knees
• Lightheaded or dizziness
• Noise and light sensitivity
• Rash, may or may not appear as 'bulls-eye'
Each person's reaction can be different...
Please note that this is only a partial list of possible symptoms. Each person's reaction to Lyme disease or other tick-borne illness can be different.
It is recommended to keep track of your child's symptoms and any changes, to share with your child's pediatrician or Lyme treating physician.
• Irritability / Depression
• Short-term memory problems
• Issues with schoolwork
• Brain fog
• Easily distracted
• Light and sound sensitivity
• Slowed cognitive processing
• Aggression / rage
• Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
Please note that the above is only a partial list of possibly cognitive symptoms, in addition to physical symptoms such as extreme fatigue. Each person's reaction to Lyme disease or other tick-borne illness can be different.
It's recommended to keep track of your child's symptoms and any changes, to share with your child's pediatrician or Lyme treating physician.
Enid Haller is Executive Director of Lyme Center of Martha's Vineyard, a free walk-in information service for Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases. Dr. Haller is also the principal speaker and mentor on Lyme Disease at Martha's Vineyard Wellness Retreat.
Enid has run the Martha's Vineyard Lyme Support Group since 2010.
She holds a PhD. in Clinical Psychology (Union Institute) and a License in Clinical Social Work (Fordham University). She is a New York State-Licensed Clinical Social Worker (New York State – LCSW# 052744-1).
After building a successful private practice for 5 years, Dr. Haller founded the psychotherapy clinic, Behavioral Arts, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, specializing in Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, neuropsychological testing, addiction counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy. She ran Behavioral Arts for 8 years until she became dreadfully ill.
Her diagnosis in 2009 of Lyme Disease with Babesiosis was delayed for at least 10 years by a failure to identify the symptoms. Her condition advanced deeply into the chronic phase, where from 1999 she accumulated a complex of afflictions from cataracts (surgery), hyperthyroidism, knee (meniscus surgery), heart (surgery), severe depression, anxiety, debilitating chronic neck pain and brain fog. Her daughter and husband also became ill due to Lyme and assorted co-infections.
Dr. Haller is dedicating her recovery to helping others recognize and get timely treatment for their tick-borne infections.
MANHATTAN MAGAZINE: Dr. Haller's Prior Experience in a Difficult Field...
Prior to starting Martha’s Vineyard Lyme Center, Dr Haller was a practicing psychotherapist in New York City. Back in 1997 she founded a cutting-edge clinic called Behavioral Arts for treating the much misunderstood Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, on which she wrote her doctoral dissertation at Union Institute.
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