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Prevention Is The Key: None of This Ever Had to Happen

 None of This Had to Happen. 

It was a lightbulb moment for me when I got ehrlichiosis back in 2011 - that people can be sick and look fine, even great. I remember wishing that there was a word cloud over my head that read “I may look fine but I feel like a wreck on the inside”. Among other issues, I had debilitating fatigue for months, and a frozen shoulder that I couldn’t lift over my head for a year. 

Everyone knows about Lyme disease, but much less known are other tickborne diseases - such as ehrlichiosis,  rickettsiosis (aka Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Spotted Fever Group), and Alpha-gal Syndrome. These run rampant across the southern United States thanks to the Lone star tick. To me, this lack of awareness and attention is an equity issue - because of the largely rural populations of the south, the spread is far greater than the overall density of Lyme in northeastern states. People who are under 10, over 75, or those who have compromised immune systems are especially at risk from diseases like rickettsiosis. Rickettsiosis, which can lead to death in nine days if untreated, causes the most tick-borne fatalities in the U.S.  One woman’s words are seared in my brain “Our communities, families, children, pets, livestock are being devastated by ticks and these diseases”.

And yet, none of this had to happen. Exposure to ticks and tick bites are entirely preventable. Stay with us through the month of May as we raise awareness along with Tick-Borne Conditions United, our sister nonprofit, for Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Month - we look forward to many conversations. 

Yours truly ticked off,