You might know Lyme disease in simple terms such as "it's the illness you get from being bit by a tick and shows up with a bulls-eye rash."
Or you might "know someone who has the condition but doesn't know much about it."
You may also know that if you do get bit by a tick and notice it, you go to the doctor, and traditionally a course of antibiotics is prescribed.
Most people understand that dogs, cats, and other animals can get Lyme disease and will often suffer from lethargy and painful joints, just like people.
And you realize that everyone needs to check their pets, their children, and themselves regularly, especially in areas known to be infested by ticks.
For those who happen to have Lyme infection, they know more than they ever wanted to about this tick-borne disease.
Those with the disease know that studies are finding that not only are ticks transmitters but that there is some evidence that other blood-sucking insects may be carriers. There is also a possibility that Lyme can be transmitted sexually or in utero.
The people who have Lyme disease often refer to themselves as Lymies.
They also know that symptoms of Lyme can extend far beyond that of a bulls-eye rash and that in many cases, a rash never even appears to indicate that there was a bite.
If Caught Early Enough
If caught early enough, antibiotics may stop the infection before it causes long-term effects or before it can affect several body systems.
But what a person with Lyme disease knows is that too often the tick bite isn't caught early.
By the time the person realizes they were bitten and infected many systems of the body are already impacted, including the neurological and cardiovascular, and that the impact can be significant.
What Isn't Commonly Known
What someone who's never experienced acute, or worse, chronic Lyme may know about treatment is that because acute Lyme is a formally recognized disease, that insurance will typically cover antibiotic treatment.
What they can't tell you is that for those for whom a course of antibiotics don't work, those that require the expertise of a Lyme literate medical doctor (LLMD), or for the multitudes of people that suffer long-term effects of Lyme disease, many treatment options aren't covered by insurance.
These other treatments must be paid for out of pocket. Further, what they don't know is how many Lyme sufferers spend their life savings, sell their homes, and use up credit card limits to pay for treatments that keep them only marginally functional.