RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There is a new health campaign sweeping social media. Have you seen it?
The Lyme Disease Challenge raises awareness about a condition affecting as many as 11,000 people in Virginia.
Dr. Oz, William Shatner, Tom Bergeron and now 8News Anchor Amy Lacey. They are part of the growing list of people joining the fight against Lyme Disease.
“I think we’re on the precipice of an epidemic, and it really needs to be taken seriously,” warns Dawn Wilson.
She was first infected with Lyme Disease from a tick bite in 1998 and then again in 2006. It is only after that second transmission that Wilson says a doctor finally diagnosed why she had been suffering from debilitating vertigo.
“Could not drive around the block, would fall down if I try to walk down a straight hallway, could not watch tv. It was pretty severe,” Wilson remembers.
The sign most commonly linked to Lyme is a bullseye rash, but Wilson never had it and says only about 40% of patients ever do. Prevention in critical. Wilson advises staying on trails away from high grass during a walk, using an insecticide called Permethrin and checking for ticks.
“The ticks are as small as the size of a freckle so many people don’t even remember being bitten,” says Wilson.
Early Lyme symptoms are just like the flu: fatigue, fever, body aches. They can snowball into neurological, joint or even heart and liver conditions. It is why Wilson urges everyone to be on alert even if Lyme tests come back negative.
“You need to seek immediate attention,” Wilson states.
In 2013 Virginia became the first state in the country to enact a Lyme Disease law. It requires doctors to educate potential patients about the testing.