Photos of Bulls-Eye Rash ~ Lyme Disease

How many of you can tell me which pictures are of a Bulls-Eye Rash caused by Lyme Borealis?






If you said "All of the Above" you are correct! Even what we consider an easy to identify rash can demonstrate in many ways.

A, B, C and E are often not identified as a "Bulls Eye Rash" by physicians and written off as a spider bite, infected bug bite or fungal infection. Take the time to look on the web and educate yourself so you can identify a Bulls Eye Rash when you see one. You could change someones fate for the better if you do!


Lyme Disease and Children - Could This Be a Child You Know?

If nothing else about this blog catches your interest, I would have to think this post will at least touch your heart. The topic – Lyme Disease and its impact on children.

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease among children in the United States; the incidence of Lyme disease is believed to be higher among children than adults. As an adult we can explain our symptoms fairly well, but a child doesn't have much of a history of wellness prior to becoming ill. How are they supposed to know what “normal” is? What normal tiredness feels like?

A small lucky few, children and adults, are diagnosed with Lyme Disease early, generally by the bulls-eye rash. When this rash is present, many physicians are open to prescribing a month of antibiotics. It's when the rash is not seen that Lyme is overlooked.

Research varies but a safe estimate of the percentage of people who actually demonstrate with a bull-eye rash is somewhere around 15-30%. That leaves us with a huge percentage of people who doctors are turning a blind eye to. People who may also carry a co-infection (which is not treated with the same antibiotics as Lyme nor does it cause a bulls-eye rash) and the children who have carried Lyme for years, and in some cases, since birth. What's happening to them? Unfortunately, for many physicians, no rash means no treatment! Don't doctors read research articles anymore??

Most physicians admit that Lyme can be hard to diagnose in children. They report that symptoms are often vague or seen as a learning disability or developmental delay and therefore didn't “red flag” them to test for Lyme or co-infections. To me this is an excuse for lack of education – I'm not a doctor but I have educated myself enough to know that if any of the following symptoms exist, Lyme should at least be ruled out.

I'm going to focus this post more on the neurological impact than “typical symptoms” (such as joint pain or fatigue) since I feel the neurological symptoms are more frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Please note that sometimes children and adults only demonstrate with one or two symptoms while others have multiple.

According to research, children are bitten by ticks more frequently around the head and neck, making them more vulnerable to brain, heart and central nervous system infections. They also are at risk for contracting Lyme in utero.

How many parents have I talked to that have assumed that their child was “delayed” , “learning disabled”, “has ADHD”, “is depressed”, “has anxiety” or “just doesn't try” only to find out years later that these symptoms were caused by Lyme. I'm sad to say WAY TOO MANY!

The resulting neurological symptoms of Lyme disease are often misdiagnosed. Below is a partial list:

  • severe fatigue unrelieved by rest

  • insomnia

  • headaches

  • nausea, abdominal pain

  • impaired concentration

  • poor short-term memory

  • inability to sustain attention (often misdiagnosed as ADHD)

  • difficulty with executive functioning (organization, higher-level thinking and concepts)

  • difficulty thinking and expressing thoughts

  • difficulty reading and writing (may be diagnosed with a learning disability or processing disorder)

  • being overwhelmed by schoolwork

  • difficulty making decisions

  • confusion

  • uncharacteristic behavior

  • outbursts and mood swings

  • fevers/chills

  • joint pain

  • dizziness
  • noise and light sensitivity
  • change in vision (acuity, tracking and light sensitivity
Congenital or gestational Lyme disease has been reported in some children who were infected in utero or by breastfeeding. In these patients suspicion was raised by Lyme Specialists when the child demonstrated with:

  • frequent fevers

  • increased incidence of ear and throat infections

  • increased incidence of pneumonia

  • irritability

  • joint and body pain

  • poor muscle tone

  • gastroesophageal reflux

  • small windpipe (tracheomalacia)

  • cataracts and other eye problems

  • developmental delay

  • learning disabilities

  • psychiatric problems – tantrums, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, etc
  • In more severe cases, stroke, cerebral palsy-like symptoms, inability to speak or control motor movements such as walking, loss of speech and death have been reported.
It's important to remember that symptoms can present themselves very differently from person to person. Some children have difficulty with concentration while another child has great attending skills but is irritable. The variation of symptoms is what makes this disease hard to define and not “textbook”. Please watch the short video below to open your mind to how big this problem really is!!



Immune Response to Lyme Sphirochetes and Diagnosis

You might be wondering why you need to know the difference between immune responses. Well.....due to the difference in the two antibodies, four separate tests are available to test for their presence. Therefore, a physician must specify whether or not a patient should have an IgM or IgG Western Blot, or an IgM or IgG ELISA test.

I'd say at least 80% of the people who I have talked to had no idea which of the four tests they were given to test them for Lyme Disease or another tick-borne infection. Needless to say, its essential to know which test was given – it can help in estimating the time of infection (Lyme vs. Chronic Lyme) or can explain a false negative.

"Lyme is an enigma. While the debate rages over proper diagnostic and treatment procedures, patients get sicker and some even die." - Pat Smith, LDA, NY Assembly Hearing Nov, 2001

"Because the symptoms can be so varied and are often so vague, borreliosis is typically not even considered for testing or treatment." - Charles Crist, MD

Immune Responses Explained

IgM - is a sign of a recently contracted infection.

The first antibody our body makes in response to a foreign invader is usually immunoglobulin type M (IgM). This large antibody takes 2-4 weeks to be made in quantities large enough to be detected. It is at its peak of production four weeks after exposure to an antigen or in this case Lyme Spirochetes. The IgM antibody only stays in circulation for about three months.

IgM is 6x larger than the IgG antibody. Due to its size, this immunoglobulin is not believed to cross the placenta. Since it is fairly difficult for it to enter the fetus from the mother, any newborn that starts to make IgM antibodies against Lyme disease should be considered actively infected, however, a fetus exposed to Lyme Spirochetes early in the pregnancy may never make an antibody response to the Lyme bacteria because the baby's immune system doesn't recognize it as foreign. This means that doctors need to take a closer look at Lyme when babies are born with associated symptoms with no known origin (we'll discuss signs in babies and children in another post).

IgG - is a sign of an active infection, a past exposure to or past infection by the organism.

The second antibody we make after the IgM is the IgG antibody. This antibody takes 4-8 weeks to form and can be non-detectable after 4-6 months; peaking at about six weeks. This antibody crosses the placenta, so an infected mother can pass this antibody to her unborn child.

This antibody attacks viruses, bacteria, yeast, toxins, and transplants.
Many insurance company refuse to pay for more than one test. For example, the Western Blot IgG and the Western Blot IgM are completely different. The people approving and denying insurance claims lack education about Lyme and the bodies immune response so they consider the tests the same and deny claims for reimbursement on more than one test. It's like saying you can only test for one type of cancer – so choose wisely!

How much longer will we accept the lack of education about Lyme Disease and its impacts on the lives of people around us? People are having to spend thousands to tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket because their insurance company won't reimburse for Lyme testing or treatment regimes past 3 weeks! Write to your local congressmen, insurance companies and support Lyme education and research!


Lyme Disease - Testing & Diagnosis - Lesson Learned

I wanted to start by thanking everyone who has sent me emails with questions and positive feedback about my blog! Can't believe its now being read in 5 countries!! Thanks for everyone's help in getting the word out! If we don't do it, no one will.......

A few people have emailed me asking why Lyme Disease is so difficult to diagnose. I wish there was an easy answer to this question but, as with all Lyme topics, lots of factors come into play.

Lyme is a tricky entity. It can mimic and/or cause hundreds of other diseases and symptoms vary greatly from person to person. It's also a "clinically diagnosed” disease - meaning blood-work should be looked at as a guideline but the diagnosis itself should be based on the symptoms the patient demonstrates with, even when a negative result is found!

Many doctors think in black and white terms - if the test is negative, you don't have it, right? Well, unfortunately in millions of cases the answer is "WRONG!".

We have to start thinking about who defines the black and white criteria......media, the Centers for Disease Control, pharmaceutical and laboratory companies. At this point, each laboratory has its own criteria for a positive and negative result. So you could have two completely different results from the same blood sample.

Let's break down some of obstacles in diagnosing Lyme Disease:

-The way in which Lyme tests are promoted (financially backed)

- Reliability not only depends on the test given but also on the criteria used by the laboratory processing the blood-work.

- The tests are primed to recognize laboratory strains of Bb (Borrelia burgdorferi - i.e. Lyme) rather than naturally occurring strands

- The Lyme spirochete can hide in the body and confuse the immune system into thinking its not there. So, no antibodies are produced, resulting in false negatives.

On top of that - Have we recognized all the strains and species of Borrelia that cause Lyme disease symptoms and are we incorporating them into our tests? The answer is no.

Lyme testing is still in its beginning phase and includes a huge margain of error. Let's look at the two main tests given:
1) Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)

This is the first, and often only, test people are given by their doctor. At best its reported to be 50% reliable (why not just toss a coin?). In my opinion, it should be considered more of a screening tool and not diagnostic tool.

The ELISA panel tests for antibodies that your body makes to defend itself against the spirochetes that make up Lyme Disease. I'll discuss what spirochetes are in another blog, for now just think of them as microscopic corkscrew-shaped bacteria. Research has shown that after approximately 3 months, depending on the strength of your immune system prior to infection, the body naturally stops creating antibodies. What does this mean? It means that if you have been infected for more than 3 months - you will most likely test negative!
2) Western Blot

In as simple of terms as possible, the Western Blot makes a map of the different antibodies the immune system produces to certain bacteria. The map separates the antibodies by the weight of their respective antigens and are reported in units called kilo daltons or kDa.

For example, a Western Blot may report bands at 22, 23, 25, 31, 34, 39, and 41 kDa. Each of these bands represents an antibody response to a specific protein found on the spirochete. Some doctors and laboratories feel that unless you have multiple bands, you don't have Lyme or another tick-borne infection. This way of thinking makes no sense to me – particularly when research has shown that even one positive band responds to treatment. In one study, 88% of patients improved with treatment when only one band was present. How much more evidence is needed?

Now to complicate things even further, there are two version of each test.



- Western Blot IgM

- Western Blot IgG
I know this is a lot to take in at once so I feel its best to do it in installments. Until I got sick, I had no idea that any tests other than the ELISA existed or that the tests were far from accurate. I also trusted that doctors would be more educated than I was about Lyme Disease. Lesson Learned!
Next blog will explain the antibodies IgM and IgG.....


Advocate for recovery; don't accept band-aids........

Let's not be pessimists but realistic that the world runs on money and money skews knowledge. The pharmaceutical companies benefit more from “band-aid” medications which require continued use vs. medications that would actually get to the root of the problem and end with recovery. Pharmaceutical companies give great incentives to doctors and universities who in turn train new doctors to treat with their products. Doctors go to school to learn how to heal and unknowingly learn how to “heal” using medications made not to heal but to band-aid. It's a vicious cycle!

Think about it....we learn about most diseases through media. Whether it be the internet, television, newspapers or magazines everything we read is the opinion of someone else and the message is funded by a company looking to sell their product. Take research articles for example – a large part of the general population takes them at face value without finding out who conducted the study and whether they could benefit financially from the results. Our brains are trained that research is fact but when you dive deeper you realize research can also be biased.

Now don't get me wrong.....some of the resourcesavailable to us are full of factual information but the phrase “small print” isn't globally known for no reason. Look at the AIDS epidemic. How long did the government know about HIV/AIDS before the general public was made aware.

HIV and AIDS was first brought to light in the early 1980's. It's been almost 30 years and this subject still sparks fierce debate and arguments regarding its origin, treatment, cure and global impact. AIDS did not even acquire its name until 1982, although evidence of the disease dates back as far as the 1880's. Why did it take over 100 years for this disease to be labeled and many more years for it to be presented to the general public?

In 1985, AIDS was documented in China, making it found in every region of the world. Now I don't know about you but I think its our right as citizens to be warned about diseases more than 3 years before it becomes a world wide crisis; particularly when it had been kept quiet for 100 years.

Remember the statistics of Lyme Disease from my previous post....now imagine what those numbers will be 100 years from now (2110). (Don't forget those statistics don't account for other tick-borne illnesses!). It's a scary thought and something we have the power to change! Are we going to be like the previous generations and turn a blind eye.....or are we going to use our voices to educate and potentially save future generations from a Lyme Epidemic?  Educate Yourself and Others!


Lyme Disease, Other Tick-Borne Diseases / Co-Infections - The Facts

How many of you knew (without being told by me personally) that not only do we have to educate ourselves about Lyme Disease but there are also other tick-borne diseases that are even less known but very prevalent!

Research has shown from the very beginning that ticks which carry the pathogen of Lyme disease also harbor an array of other organisms, some known to cause serious human disease, others not traced to human infection or still undiscovered or unexplored.

 Below is a limited list of other known tick-borne disease:
Disease Process: Protozoa that invade, infect, and kill the red blood cells Symptoms: Fatigue, night sweats, fever, chills, weakness, weight loss, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, cough, shortness of breath, headache, neck and back stiffness, dark urine or blood in urine
Disease Process: Bartonella bacterium Symptoms: Fever, chills, headache and severe pain in the tibia, weight loss, sore throat, papular or angiomatous rash
Ehrlichiosis (HGE and HME)
Disease Process: Rickettsiae that infect the white blood cells Symptoms: Anemia, fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, rigors, gastrointestinal symptoms, anorexia, fatigue
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Disease Process: Rickettsia rickettsii parasite that invades the cells lining the heart and blood vessels Symptoms: High fever, severe headache (especially behind the eyes), maculopapular skin rash
Colorado Tick Fever
Explanation: Reovirus that lodges inside the cells Symptoms: High fever, chills, severe muscle aches, back pain, headache (especially behind the eyes), light sensitivities, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Relapsing Fever
Disease Process: Borrelia hermsii spirochete Symptoms: High fever, sudden chills, eye inflammation, coughing, jaundice, petechial rash
 Disease Process: Francisella tularensis bacterium  Symptoms: Painful and swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, fatigue
Tick Paralysis
Disease Process: A toxic reaction to saliva from female ticks Symptoms: Paralysis begins in legs and spreads throughout the body within hours * Recovery is rapid following the removal of the tick
Disease Process: A genus of small bacteria which lack cell walls. M. fermentans, M. pneumoniae, M. penetrans, M. hominis and M. genetalium Symptoms: Fatigue, headaches, muscle pain and soreness, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, joint pain and soreness, lymph node pain, cognitive problems, depression, breathing problems and other signs and symptoms 
Powassan Encephalitis
Disease Process:: Flavivirus that invades and infects the brain Symptoms: Fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, light sensitivity, muscle weakness, seizures, paralysis, brain inflammation
Ticks know no borders and respect no boundaries. A patient's county of residence does not accurately reflect his or her Lyme disease risk. In this day in age with worldly travel, pet travel, wild animals and farm animals being transported across the world and ticks traveling across the world......It's a perfect storm -  life is a dynamic situation with many opportunities for exposure.  

If you learn nothing else from this post, learn that co-infections are often never diagnosed; even in patients who have been diagnosed with Lyme. They are generally only tested when a person advocates to be tested or under the guidance of a Lyme Specialist. Knowing whether a co-infection is present is essential for treatment.

Know anyone with Lyme (or misdiagnosed) who has been undergoing treatment and not getting better? I can almost guarantee a co-infection is the cause. Co-infections need to be treated first or treatment is likely to fail! 
Any Questions? Email or Post a Comment...............Educate Yourself!

Works sited: 


Lyme - The REAL Statistics

What would you say if I told you there have been at least 4.05 million cases of Lyme Disease but only 404,000 have been documented through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?

Or imagine I said in the past 8 months over 140,000 people have contracted Lyme Disease but only a tenth of them have been reported to the CDC. Some would say reporting doesn't matter but let's think of the snowball effect! Without reliable reporting of Lyme Disease cases, our society continues to believe its a problem that simply goes away with a few weeks of antibiotics. I also believed in this myth.....thats of course....until it happened to me!

Lyme Disease was rated one of the top 10 misdiagnosed diseases by Reader's Digest. First and foremost, we have to think of the people being affected by the lack of education to the general public and the medical profession.  There are potentially millions of people misdiagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Rhemuatoid Arthritis, Anxiety, Depression, Lupus, Hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Celiac Disease, Aneurysm, Parkinson's Disease, Mononucleosis, Chronic Fatigue Sydrome, Candidiasis, multiple psychitrics and mood disorders and some reasearch even strongly suggests Autism.

Let's also think about the group of people who have no diagnosis. I was this person before being mislabeled with many of the above listed. I was told by doctors I was "stressed", "It's all in your head", "It's probably just anxiety......people get that with age", "You have a brain aneurysm", "I'm pretty certain its MS".

Now you would think the signs would have rang a few bells to the people in the medical profession, particularly since I actually told them I was convinced it was Lyme. I also informed them that my dog had just been diagnosed with Lyme. My symptoms had started with flu-like symptoms, stiff neck, a high fever followed by months and months of low grade fever. I had arthritic pain in my knees, hips and back, my short term memory was significantly impaired, I was experiencing panic attacks, had no appetite (literally couldnt even force myself to eat), my brain felt like it was tingling all the time. I had continuous ringing in my ears and I had severe light sensitivity (It's hard to believe but when Lyme became chronic the list of symptoms grew even larger.....that deserves a post all to itself).

I can sadly guarantee that almost every single person reading this blog knows at least one person with one of the above "labels". What if you knew that what was causing their suffering might actually be treatable and capable of recovery when treated by a Licensed Lyme Disease Specialist (email me for recommedations in your area)? Would you spend 10 minutes of your time suggesting they read about it? Educate Yourself!