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Kiwanis International

Pediatric Lyme Disease Foundation
By DPG John Gridley


There are many obstacles in the diagnosis Lyme Disease, one of which is untrained doctors.

Despite the vast and increasing prevalence of Lyme Disease in the United States and other countries, many doctors are still not trained to look for the disease. Lack of training results from the misguided belief among mainstream medical professionals that Lyme Disease is actually not a prevalent, rapidly spreading infection but instead a rare and uncommon condition.

Some doctors will tell a sick child returning from a camping trip to take some Pepto-Bismol after diagnosing them with food poisoning from camping food. Other doctors will suggest Giardia, as a result of drinking contaminated stream water, and proclaim that the telltale bull's-eye rash is just a harmless insect bite or an allergic reaction to some grass or pollen or other irritant found in nature. Still other doctors will recommend watching symptoms for a few weeks to see if they improve on their own, after which time, if a child really had contracted Lyme Disease, antibiotic therapy would be too late anyway.

If the bacteria are allowed to survive in the body unchallenged by antibiotic therapy for more than a couple days, treatment becomes much more complicated and protracted because the bacteria invade and colonize many organs and tissues. For this reason, early detection and treatment are critical, yet they often do not occur because Lyme Disease is not on the forefront of most physicians' minds.

So as I always say, if you think that your child has got bitten by a tick, go to your doctor immediately and ask for a blood test but demand that they be put on antibiotic therapy, because processing a Lyme Disease test can take a couple weeks. Even if a positive result is received, it may be too late for antibiotic therapy to eradicate the infection.

So remember that, when in areas with ticks stay in the center of paths, use a tick repellent, and dress properly. The cost for the treatment of chronic Lyme Disease can be astronomical and most insurance companies do not cover it.

The Kiwanis Pediatric Lyme Disease Foundation has approved seven requests for grants to help pay for treatment and/or medication of a child with this dreaded disease which we will be working with this year. So if you can please honor someone in your division, club or community with a donation to the foundation in the amount of $500 for a Brittany Fellowship. If you already have a Brittany, please consider the second level Brittany, which is called the Emerald Brittany for a donation of $250.

We also have something called the Joseph Michael Wuest Fellowship which was named after a Distinguished Past Lt. Governor of the Bronx Westchester South Division, at a cost of $150. For this donation you will receive pins, a banner patch, and certificates.

The sale of these items is the only way that we raise funds to pay for the treatment and/or medication for a child. If you would like to purchase one or the other you can contact me or any member of the Foundation board. I would like to thank Past Gov. Eric Paul and Immediate Past Gov. Forbes Irvine for their never ending support of Pediatric Lyme Disease. Governor Stephen Sirgiovanni for his pledge of continued support of our cause and all the Kiwanis Clubs, Circle K Clubs, Key Clubs, Builders Clubs, and K-Kids Clubs for their support and their never ending fun filled Take-A-Bite out of Lyme fund raisers.

Thank you all, and remember that, the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. It this case the main thing is helping children with Lyme Disease live a better life.

Column Posted on Web Site October 22, 2016

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