Though the Lyme Disease Challenge may seem like a funny take on this condition, it’s certainly no joke. According to the CDC, there are nearly 35,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year, and the most common patient is between 5 and 9 years old. The symptoms can range from a persistent rash in the majority of cases to arthritis in 30% of sufferers and Bell’s palsy in 9% of the afflicted. So why do so few people know about Lyme disease?
Until the past few years, there have been few public health campaigns focused on Lyme disease specifically. Considering the variety of symptoms, the difficulty in diagnosis, and the potential for debilitating long-term health consequences, it’s scary to think how many people haven’t even heard of this illness. With changes in weather patterns, tick populations have been popping up in unexpected places and wreaking havoc on those who live there. And as we grow up in more urban areas without access to backyards, the knowledge about the dangers of parasites is also getting lost. A single weekend hike may lead to catastrophic health results for city-dwellers.
What can we do to stem the tide of Lyme disease diagnosis? We’d argue that being forewarned is forearmed. With the many hours between that first moment a tick latches on to actual disease transmission, a little bit of knowledge will go a long way. Partners can check one another, parents can check children. Heck, even a halfway decent friend can step up to help you prevent this disease!
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease? How can it be treated? Are there long-term health consequences? All these are vital questions, but people first need to know to ask them. To bring awareness to this, the Lyme Disease Challenge asks you to “Take a Bite Out of Lyme Disease.” Simply take a photo, video, gif, boomerang or whatever the newest thing is of yourself biting into a lime. Funny faces are highly encouraged! Then post it on your social media accounts with the tag #LymeDiseaseChallenge along with some useful facts. In this way, we can use our social media presence for good, spreading awareness to those who need it most. Prevention will always be the best medicine, and information the best weapon against this disease.