Lyme Disease Diagnosis Inspires Woman To Spread Awareness

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Tick are coming out of hibernation early this year, and it’s raising concerns that more people could be at risk of contracting Lyme disease.

As CBS2’s Raegan Medgie reported, one woman living with the disease is spreading awareness about what you should be looking out for.

For more than 20 years Dana Parish has used her voice to sing, but early last year she started using her voice to educate people about the Lyme disease that she now lives with.

“I have a crushing headache, a crushing neck ache, never had symptoms before, take a shower, see a bull’s eye,” she said.

The New York State Department of Health said the mild spring is causing ticks to be active earlier than normal, which means you have to be on the lookout for bites. Especially if a bulls-eye rash appears on your body, or if you start feeling symptoms like Parish.

“I couldn’t breath. I had shortness of breath,” she said.

Parish sought medical attention and eventually found a Lyme disease specialist.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 330,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year. Deer ticks carry Lyme disease, but not all deer ticks are infected.

They can be found in wooded areas like parks, and live on grass. That’s why it’s important to check yourself, and your four-legged friend.

If a deer tick becomes attached to your skin you can use disinfected tweezers to pull it off.

Parish is on a mission to urge people to get medical help immediately.

“I can’t sit idle and let this happen. I just have to. It’s a calling bigger than anything I can explain,” she said.

Parish said anyone with similar symptoms should see a specialist immediately.

She is currently on long-term antibiotic treatments for Lyme disease and is doing well.

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