“Happy New Year” is a message brought to you by dozens of “start your diet” ads in every modern form of media. TV, radio, print and social media advertisers will endlessly pitch ways to slim down and get healthy by buying their programs.
We are keenly aware of the health risks of a bad diet. On the other hand, we are often less aware that we have people with debilitating and often undiagnosed illnesses such as CIRS and MCS due to environmental illness. We are exposed to air borne contaminants that cause cancer, respiratory disease, asthma and countless other afflictions.
We look to the New Year for a fresh start and better times. Why not include our indoor air quality in that time of renewal?
Functional Medicine has evolved to help diagnose environmental illness, but we need to avoid those exposures in our homes. “Avoidance” is now considered an important medical treatment. The problem is that we need to know what to avoid in this world of more and more pollutants in everyday household items.
Indoor air health risks include dust, mold, bacteria, volatile compounds from fragrances and cleaners, formaldehyde, pet dander, dust mites, radon, carbon monoxide and a host of other exposures. Our energy saving technologies have reduced the fresh air in our homes while at the same time manufacturers have added toxins to thousands of consumer and construction products.
We often don’t realize that common house dust is home to mold, dust mites, bacteria, pollen and allergens. Accumulated dust just sneaks up on you day by day, year by year. It hides in carpet, cabinets, books and your furniture. When a person is ill, it’s more difficult to do regular cleaning which makes a bad dust and particle problem worse.
The process of professionally cleaning a home is referred to as “deep cleaning” and is an important tool in mold remediation and reducing many environmental toxics including lead. It should be done using containment, specialized exhaust equipment, air filtration and personal protection for the people performing that work.
Many mold remediation firms shortcut proper treatment and simply spray or fog using toxic chemicals without first cleaning mold and allergens from surfaces. Failing to clean and remove the existing contamination is a primary cause of continued environmental illness after failed remediations.
Secrets to Reducing Dust, Mold and Allergens
VOC’s and Other Indoor Air Toxins You Actually Buy and Bring Home
We live in a world of chemicals. Some are products to clean, some to make things smell, some to make things work better and others to make our homes look pretty. Many of these thousands of chemicals can make some of us very ill.
Synthetic fragrances are in almost every cleaning or laundry product, air fresheners or personal care product. They are often added to packaging to entice consumers to select a product. The organic chemicals are not tested for their effect on people or listed on the packages. Select any product that has an odor and look up the MSDS for that product. In almost all instances internet search will reveal a list of chemicals you will not be able to pronounce or know how they will affect your health.
Furniture, cabinets, flooring and plastic materials usually have chemicals that off-gas in the home. Everything from plastic children’s toys to artificial Christmas trees can be a source of lead dust. Many cosmetics and personal care products have been found to have asbestos and almost all have VOCs.
Secrets to Reducing VOC Contamination
Walk through your home and check for water leaks and mold. These can sneak up on any homeowner. A tiny leak can cause a big mold problem over time. The earlier leaks are found, the less damage they cause and the easier they are to correct.
The most susceptible areas for mold in the home include finished basements, crawl spaces, areas with dirt floors, interior french drains, attics, areas with any leaks and areas that are not heated in cold weather. Homes with foam insulation systems and energy star construction are also extremely likely to harbor hidden mold. Professional mold assessments are a good idea if you have any of these conditions and any family members with health issues.
Improve Your Home's Environment in the New Year
These suggestions will make you feel better in your home. It is your castle and should be the very best it can be. Take a couple of weekends and pick from the list of chores that can make your home healthier.
In thousands of homes and on social media posts across the land, you saw the annual notice heralding the end of summer vacation: “Summer is over and the kids are back in school”. Some will cry, some will cheer, some will only shrug their shoulders. No matter what we do or say, every school year, the emotion, and the back to school sales come to an end and attention shifts to the students actually being in school. Click Here to Download a Copy of Published Article
The bottom line on this is that parents DO NOT want their child sick because they go to school. Our schools that have mold are like the “Jaws” movies. Just when you think it is safe to return, we find out that it is “not so safe.”
When we experience any school environmental issue such as mold, it can be front page headlines, TV, talk show fodder and Facebook news feed material.
Environmental issues in schools are not “just another student health issue”. These problems are a public relations nightmare, a staff human relations mine field, a facility management challenge, a budget buster, a political fiasco and a liability time bomb.
Signs of Mold in School
If a school is flooded or has leaks that are not quickly cleaned up, there will be mold. Whether it is a roof leak, plumbing leak or any other area of wet surfaces, you can count on mold growing.
Parents should take a look around their child’s school. Water stains are the target to look for. Fuzzy or splotchy areas are the bullseye in the search for suspected mold. These can be in almost any area of a building anywhere from the highest ceiling to the lowest floor. In addition to the visual indicators of mold presence, odor can be indicator. When the odor of mold is in the school or on a child’s clothes, books, papers or possessions, mold should be investigated as a source of the offensive smell.
Sewage backups, leaks and all floods also have a host of water borne diseases and contaminants. When these occur, a professionally conducted disinfection must be conducted even when mold is not visible. Even a little dust left in an obscure corner after the flood is gone can enter through a cut in a student’s hand or their lungs long after the water is gone if the areas has not been disinfected.
Mold is a Science Project
Though not part of the approved school curriculum, mold that is found in the school is really a science experiment. Anywhere on earth that there is food and water, something will grow. It can be the deepest ocean or highest mountain. It can be the north pole or south pole or anywhere in between. That scientific fact is that books, paper, wood floors, drywall, dust, or any other material or any other substrate that can grow mold will grow mold within 48 hours of leaks or high moisture occurring.
The first step in preventing recurrence of mold is determining the conditions that were mold conducive. If mold grew in a school over the summer because the air conditioning was not run, or there are roof leaks, or any other reason, it will return if the cause of mold is not corrected.
Failure to correct the underlying cause of environmental hazards as well as the hazard itself, is a waste of money, and serves to mislead parents, administration and faculty into believing that the school mold environment is safe. In school we learned to consider both cause and effect. The same applies in the process of creating healthy indoor air quality.
Schools Can Get Help to Keep our Children Safe from Mold
The EPA provides great online tools available to learn the issues and solutions to mold problems. These are great general guidelines, but can’t address individual conditions. Mold problems are often complicated by being the result of several underlying conditions that require expertise in multiple construction fields.
Unfortunately, learning to use and to then implement these tools is often much tougher than obtaining them. Professional assistance is a good option to get an environmental awareness and mold prevention program up and running properly. Once established, existing staff can usually keep the program running.
Usually an indoor air quality (IAQ) program process starts with an initial site assessment, or information gathering session. The environmental risks are evaluated and appropriate tests then conducted. These could include mold and allergen testing. If there was flooding or sewage backups, testing for a number of common infectious diseases should be added.
An educational staff can’t be expected to have the full knowledge to implement a program, but often, once in place, the good health of school occupants can be maintained through the corrections and adjustments made in the facility. There are several companies that have assessment and monitoring programs that include a yearly Indoor Air Quality Certificate for posting after the assessment and completion of any appropriate testing and corrections.
Imagine struggling with an unexplained illness that robs you of normal life. You go from traditional doctor to traditional doctor and still no answers other than it must be your imagination. This isn’t science fiction. It is real people, real life and may even be you or your loved one.
For too long, people have unknowingly eaten, inhaled, drank and absorbed toxins that are often hidden in everyday products and the vary air and water we need to live.
Big business and government have told us not to worry, they will keep us safe. We are told that we can trust the food, water and air. They tell us the multitude of energy waves they beam through our bodies won’t hurt us. They did the same with asbestos, lead paint, radon and the drinking water in Flint Michigan.
There is new hope and healing for the millions of people affected with environmentally created health problems. CIRS, MCS, chemical toxicity, autoimmune disease and sensitivity to electro-magnetic forces are some of the illnesses. For many individuals, the health problems are the result of compromised health due to chemotherapy, organ transplants, and other illnesses that attack the bodies’ ability to heal.
Modern chemistry has brought us tens of thousands of untested new chemicals mixed in combinations to create hundreds of thousands of new exposures. If the product doesn’t have a toxin as a key ingredient, manufacturers often add toxic chemicals to create a pleasant odor.
What we have been doing is not enough to protect our health and the health of our children It is not OK to keep dosing environmentally ill individuals and ignore the source and causes. It is unacceptable to dismiss environmental illness as imagined or unimportant.
People are the sum of their genetics, health history and exposures. We accept that some children can find a peanut deadly, but have a difficult time understanding that other exposures can be deadly.
It is time for qualified Functional Professionals to work together to identify the causes of environmental health, find ways to avoid the toxins and help the people affected by environmental hazards to heal.
Functional Health Professionals
It is not enough to give people pills to treat the symptoms of environmental illness instead of the illness itself. Functional Health Professionals identify the cause and source of illness. They prescribe testing that can confirm what is the cause of illness. The source of illness can range from the food we eat to the air we breathe.
When food is the source of illness, they prescribe diets to improve health. When environmental factors are the issue, they refer patients to Functional Environmental Professionals to test and evaluate the source of toxins. Mold is the most common source of environmental illness.
The Functional Health Professional’s next steps are to provide advice to avoid the risk and medical care detoxifying and healing patients.
Functional Environmental Professionals
Functional Environmental Professionals (FEPs) explore the wide range of sources of environmental health risks. Mold is the most common problem. Toxic exposures can be found in drinking water, building materials, construction defects, HVAC systems, or from the activities of every-day living. Health risks can be from daily or occupational activities, frequented buildings or even outdoor sources. Testing is done to confirm the source of an exposure and then it is important for the FEP to identify and report on the changes needed to remediate the risk and avoid its return. Educating the client in avoiding future exposures is important to recovery. All buildings and their exposures are a science experiment. We all know that if we do not change the conditions of the experiment, the results will be the same. Identifying the changes that are required to keep a building healthy is a critical part of the assessment that requires a qualified Functional Environmental Professional.
It is not enough to spray a chemical in a building and declare that everything is better. Functional Remediation Professionals (FRPs) understand that there is not a single magic spray or pixie dust that remediates every building. When you clean your kitchen counter, you wipe the food and debris that is the food of bacterial and viruses off the counter. Just picture if you sprayed Lysol on the kitchen counter without cleaning up the food debris for the next couple of weeks. Yep, Lysol has a 99.8% kill germ claim, but that is not enough to spray a house without cleaning up the bad stuff where the contaminants are living. It is critical to test a patient’s reaction to treatment products before they are applied. This is especially true in one that is occupied by chemically sensitive or environmentally ill individuals. Functional Remediators follow the protocols of Functional Environmental Professionals that include containment, negative air and air scrubbing. Just as the dandelion will spread its white seeds when blown on, contaminants can be spread through a building during remediation. Improper remediation can make an unhealthy building even more toxic.
The Healthy Infusion Program Brings Functional Professionals Together
It is not enough to treat symptoms of illness. We should have healing.
It is not enough to test for an environmental risk. We should strive to correct the cause or reduce the exposure and its return.
It is not enough to spray a “one size fits all” chemical and declare a building free of toxins. We must treat with sensitivity to the occupants and using methods to contain exposures during treatment. We must change the conditions that cause a toxic environment.
Functional Professionals are a team that is focused on identifying the underlying conditions and improving the causes and conditions that can be improved.
Simply put, the Healthy Infusion Program is designed to bring the functional professionals together to address the source of environmental hazards and the path toward good health.
Where do we go From Here?
We know that our modern world has created many environmental risks that can affect each person differently. We need to understand the complexities of the life today and not dismiss the concerns of those that are affected by elements of our changing, complex and often toxic environment. We need to work together to provide the best outcomes for environmentally ill individuals.
Let's imagine that you are the child with a deadly reaction to peanuts, but don’t realize it. One solution is to provide you with an EpiPen to inject you every time your turn blue and can’t breathe. Another solution is to figure out that it is the peanuts that almost kill you and then stop eating them. It’s pretty easy to understand that avoiding the peanuts is a better plan. The challenge we face is that we first need to know that you're allergic to the peanuts. This is the start of our pathway to environmental health.
The fundamental problem in exploring causes of environmental illnesses is that those reactions occur in time delay. Our minds are trained to understand that it hurts if we hit our thumb with a hammer, and we should stop doing it. Environmental exposures are cumulative and in” time delay” often complicated in combinations of exposures and locations.
The first step to wellness is to identify the cause of the illness. Functional medicine practitioners have the approach of looking for the cause of the environmental reaction. Modern medicine has developed blood, and urine tests that can identify the source of the illness. Underlying diseases such as Lyme disease, childhood diseases and occupational exposures also need explored as they can combine with environmental triggers to intensify an illness or delay recovery.
The next step is identifying the exposure that is making the client ill. Common environmental exposures include mold, household chemicals, pesticides, chemicals used in hobbies, illegal drugs, HVAC defects, sewer backups, tainted water, air pollutants, off gassing construction materials and allergens. Many of these exposures can only be identified through testing. Identifying possible sources and the proper testing methods is where the environmental inspector comes in handy.
This investigative process involves developing a list of potential exposures and then looking at how these exposures match with testing by the Functional Medical practitioner.
Once they are identified, the sources of the illness need to be avoided. Removing the sources of environmental triggers is another difficult part of the puzzle. The environmental consultant should, wherever possible, provide a plan or options to avoid the exposure that is making people ill.
Modern medical science is developed treatments to remove toxins from the environmentally ill patient. The challenge is that each of us is a unique individual. We are complex organic machines. Treatments that work with some of us will not work with others. Removing toxins from the miraculous and complex human body usually takes time and sometimes multiple approaches. The good news is that if we avoid toxic environmental exposures, the body tries to help heal itself.
Modern man has developed an endless stream of new products and chemicals in the name of making life better, easier or more convenient. It doesn't always work that way. There are defects in manufacture and in some instances reckless behaviors that expose innocent people to toxic health risks. When this happens, it is devastating to the lives that are touched. Sadly, the people who are environmentally ill are often accused of psychological problems or not helped in a way that can restore their health, their health and the lives of their friends and family. For a full article as published Click here for a PDF copy of the full article
If you are like many of us, the addition of another term in the medical
field can just be babble and one more thing in a confusing, but major part of
our lives. Over 20% of the US economy is dedicated to health care.
The place to start the discussion is to answer the question: Why does
Functional Medicine matter? The answer lies with the fact that chronic disease
(diseases that linger in our lives) has become more and more prevalent.
Auto-immune disease, Asthma, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, COPD are some
examples of chronic disease.
The traditional treatment of patients is geared for treating problems such
as infections, heart attacks, broken bones, and other afflictions that can be
corrected with a heroic swoop down and medical intervention (often a medical
miracle) to correct the specific problem.
Functional Medicine Practitioners address the whole person using systems to
work in partnership with the patient for the best long term health outcome.
If you are like me, your first reaction to that sentence would be of course,
isn’t that what everybody does? That is because it makes sense when we hear
that said. The traditional model is disease centered. In other words, if you
get sick, the isolated set of symptoms are treated as a single point of
The Functional Medicine Practitioners spend time with patients, consider
their histories and look at possible interactions and the influence of genetic,
lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the long-term health of the
patient. This is a much more personalized or holistic approach to medicine and
When the general health of a person is managed, the chronic conditions are
better managed and acute episodes are reduced and quality of life is improved.
Additionally, proactive and predictive management of health improves overall
quality of life. It gives patients the personal power to improve their own
We are fans of Functional Medicine for good reason. This type of practice
usually improves the health and well-being of patients. We have seen this
happen as we work on the environmental with many of these practitioners.
When the Functional Medicine Practitioner is concerned about the
environmental conditions affecting a patient’s health, we test and report the
finding to the practitioner. We are experienced at providing the proper testing
and results for the evaluation of the medical provider.
The role we play in the Functional Medicine puzzle is identifying and
solving the environmental issues that affect both long term and short term
Announcing Tick Hunting Season
This particular “Tick Hunting Season” announcement is probably not going to go the way you first thought. The reality is that ticks are doing the hunting for humans and their pets to burrow into the nice, warm victim bodies. We don’t hunt them, they hunt us.
The CDC estimates there are more than 300,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year – which is roughly 10 times as many as what is reported. That group of undiagnosed Lyme Disease victims can suffer for years with the disease. You or someone you care about could be one of those victims
There have been countless news stories explaining that the weather this year has been great for the tick population. It’s no wonder that readers and viewers care about ticks. A human taking a pleasant walk in the woods or petting of a dog is all that a bloodsucking tick needs to spread disease and misery.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Early signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease include chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, fever and swollen lymph nodes. The sneaky part is that these symptoms can be mistaken as flu symptoms.
When Lyme Disease goes undiagnosed and untreated, the symptoms can progress. They can be debilitating. Each of the symptoms can also be indicative of other diseases and health problems. This is another reason that Lyme Disease can be misdiagnosed for years.
Some of Chronic Lyme Disease symptoms are:
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)
CIRS happens in response to repeated exposure to toxins. This causes the immune system to go haywire. CIRS can be triggered by the combination of mycotoxins, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other inflammatory toxins found in water-damaged environments. Lyme Disease is often one of the exposures that underlies CIRS
The Role of Mold and Other Toxins in Lyme Disease and CIRS
Only some individuals are at risk for reacting to Lyme Disease or any mold and biotoxin related diseases.
Genetic factors, individual health histories, weakened immune systems, viral, parasitic, bacterial, or other co-infections play a role in CIRS. Auto-immune diseases and exposure to mold and toxic VOCs can also be triggers to those diseases. This is complicated.
This particular “Tick Hunting Season” announcement is probably not going to go the way you first thought. The reality is that ticks are doing the hunting for humans and their pets to burrow into the nice, warm victim bodies. We don’t hunt them.
The CDC estimates there are more than 300,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year – which is roughly 10 times as many as what is reported. That group of undiagnosed Lyme Disease victims can suffer for years with the disease. You or someone you care about could be one of those victims
Before gardening, camping, hiking, or just playing outdoors, make preventing tick bites part of your plans.
Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected tick. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 infections occur each year. If you camp, hike, work, or play in wooded or grassy places, you could be bitten by an infected tick.
People living in or visiting New England, the mid-Atlantic states, and the upper Midwest are at greatest risk. Infected ticks can also be found in neighboring states and in some areas of Northern California, Oregon and Washington. But you and your family can prevent tick bites and reduce your risk of Lyme disease.
Know where to expect ticks. Blacklegged ticks (the ticks that cause Lyme disease) live in moist and humid environments, particularly in and near wooded or grassy areas. You may get a tick on you during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through leaves and bushes. To avoid ticks, walk in the center of trails and avoid walking through tall bushes or other vegetation.
Though Lyme disease cases have been reported in nearly every state, cases are reported from the infected person’s county of residence, not the place where they were infected. More Lyme disease data >
Repel ticks on skin and clothing. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Search your entire body for ticks when you return from an area that may have ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find. Take special care to check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
Check your clothing and pets for ticks because they may carry ticks into the house. Check clothes and pets carefully and remove any ticks that are found. Place clothes into a dryer on high heat to kill ticks.
Remove an attached tick with fine-tipped tweezers as soon as you notice it. If a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is extremely small; however, other diseases may be transmitted more quickly.
Over the next few weeks, watch for signs or symptoms of Lyme disease such as rash or fever. See a healthcare provider if you have signs or symptoms. For more information, see tick removal.
Even if you don’t remember being bitten by a tick, an unexpected summer fever or odd rash may be the first signs of Lyme disease, particularly if you’ve been in tick habitat. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms.
Prevent family pets from bringing ticks into the home by limiting their access to tick-infested areas and by using veterinarian-prescribed tick prevention products on your dog.
Modify your landscaping to create “Tick-Safe Zones.” It’s pretty simple. Keep patios, play areas, and playground equipment away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation. Regularly remove leaves, clear tall grasses and brush around your home, and place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to keep ticks away from recreational areas (and away from you).
“There are many potential explanations for why somebody has ongoing complaints after what should have been adequate antibiotic therapy. First of all, it’s possible that the patient didn’t take the antibiotics. You give them 2 weeks of doxycycline and they got 5 days [but now it’s] sitting in the medicine cabinet because they feel so much better. Why bother, right? [The thought is] so they’ll have the antibiotics for next time that they get bitten by a tick. This is not the way that we practice medicine. And so, it’s possible that they didn’t take the antibiotic. It’s also possible that the antibiotic was not absorbed. There are some people for whom the diarrhea and abdominal pain from doxycycline are so great—and the same thing is true sometimes of amoxicillin—that they just flush it right through their system and it never really gets absorbed. There are other people for whom it’s not diarrhea, it’s just that they don’t absorb it; it’s possible. There are people who had more advanced disease than you identified at the time you saw them. Let’s say that you see somebody with erythema migrans—the rash of Lyme disease—you give them oral antibiotics because it turns out that they already had meningitis; it was subclinical, you didn’t see it, you didn’t appreciate it. They come in 3 weeks later for a follow-up and they say, ‘My neck is so stiff and I’m feeling so weak.’ We can do a spinal tap if there are cells; you can also find antibodies against the organism, but if you find a lot of inflammatory cells, this is meningitis. This requires intravenous (IV) therapy, not oral therapy. And so, I didn’t give the appropriate therapy the first time through, not because of my incompetence, but because it was subclinical. Assuming that you have given appropriate antibiotics and they were absorbed, some people will have persistence of organisms—presumably. That’s very ill-defined, as of now. But it is possible that there is a persistence of organisms. All of the organisms that have ever been identified, all the Borrelia burgdorferi, are sensitive to the antibiotics that we use; it’s not as though there’s a resistant strain out there. But it’s possible that it was in a cell someplace and the cell broke open and now, you’ve got the organism multiplying again. And so, in some sort of a privileged site, it’s possible—unproven, but possible. The second potential explanation is debris, dead organisms lying there in a joint, as an example, and it’s a focus of ongoing inflammation because your macrophages are trying desperately to get rid of this residual stuff and it’s very indigestible. And so, there’s ongoing inflammation; that’s ongoing symptoms, despite. It’s possible that you might have debris elsewhere in the body and have inflammation and inflammation is causing your symptoms—global inflammation, systemic inflammation. It’s possible that what’s going on in the patient is immune in mechanism, that somehow the infection has caused an immune response, not necessarily autoimmune, but an immune response, an ongoing inflammation, and so, it just can’t be tamped down. It could be autoimmune; I must tell you that Alan Steere looked at autoimmunity due to B. burgdorferi outer-surface protein (OspA), or centered on OspA. I think that has been demonstrated to not be of any clinical relevance. My laboratory, when I was at Robert Wood Johnson, looked at neurologic disease. We found cross-reactivity between a Borrelia burgdorferi antigen and a human antigen. The possibility of autoimmunity was raised. We demonstrated it in the laboratory; I don’t know that we have ever seen that be of clinical relevance, but it’s possible. There’s no evidence to suggest that it happens, but it’s possible. Ongoing immunity, autoimmunity, maybe. The final explanation is that the patient once had Lyme disease but something else is going on now. As I said before, Alan Steere has shown that there are people who have chronic inflammatory diseases that have nothing to do with Lyme disease, that follow Lyme disease. Life does not come to a screeching halt medically when you eradicate Borrelia burgdorferi; other things can happen. Are they causative? Is it that the B. burgdorferi caused rheumatoid arthritis? There’s no reason to believe that’s the case, but it happened. And so, it’s very important that you not assume. Remember the old expression, ‘When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me?’ It’s very important that you not assume that something that happens after Lyme disease, is, therefore, due to the preceding Lyme disease. You have to have an open mind about this. What you need to do is approach the patient, with the Lyme disease in the background, but look for other potential explanations. Does this lady have Lupus? Does this lady have rheumatoid arthritis? Does this lady have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? And then, there’s always the very real question: Was the initial diagnosis of Lyme disease correct? Very frequently, in a referral practice, you’ll see somebody come in with a diagnosis of Lyme disease that I can’t substantiate; I don’t know how that diagnosis was made. When I start digging through the records, there’s [nothing there to indicate it]. And so, it’s very important that you be sure that there’s really a Lyme disease diagnosis that is supportable in the first place. But even if there was, look for other things to make sure that you don’t miss something. Because the diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease is almost a diagnosis of exclusion, and a diagnosis of exclusion is a very difficult thing to do because it means that you’ve excluded everything else? Not the easiest of practicing medicine.”
What Is "Lyme Anxiety?" “Lyme anxiety: the anxiety related to Lyme disease, usually related to the diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease. So, somebody walks into the office with erythema migrans, who’s done a little bit of research, and says, ‘That. That’s Lyme disease, isn’t it?’ And I say, ‘Yep. We’re going to give you some antibiotics and you’re going to get better.’ And the overwhelming majority of people in that setting do get better. It’s the person who walks in with vague complaints, no physical findings, nothing that I can say, ‘That’s what it is.’ It’s a vague constellation of complaints. Those people, somebody has told that that it’s Lyme disease; it might have been at the grocery checkout; they might have been looking at something on the internet; they might have been going to a physician who claims that it’s chronic Lyme disease. And then they would wind up coming to me at the referral center that I used to run at Robert Wood Johnson. And they’re scared out of their minds because they think ‘I’ve had this disease for who knows how long. Look what it’s doing to me. I’m not going to be around to watch my children grow up.’ People’s anxiety runs wild. Should you be concerned if you have Lyme disease? Sure. Is there reason to be afraid of it? A little bit, sure. But to approach hysteria is in nobody’s best interest and it’s really unnecessary. And it’s really one of the really toxic consequences of this ongoing debate about chronic Lyme disease.”