In an important piece of healthcare news in the Northeast (which is where many of our medical assistant trainees study, live and ultimately enter the workforce) was released this spring. Centers for Disease Control and other agencies warn that as the warm weather arrives, the Northeast could see a record spike in Lyme Disease cases.
They heavy snows of this last winter actually insulated the disease carrying Black Legged ticks (sometimes referred to as Deer ticks) from freezing to death in the cold. The warm weather now promises an explosion in these ticks’ population. This means far more instances of Lyme Disease on the horizon.
Note that not all people infected with Lyme exhibit the red, bull’s eye patterned rash commonly associated with Lyme infection. The normal symptoms mimic the flu and without the telltale rash, many are fooled into thinking they have the flu while Lyme progresses through the body. Left untreated, Lyme can affect the eyes, cardiovascular system, kidneys and even call meningitis-like swelling of the brain and spinal cord. Not fun stuff.
A good medical assistant should know that a patient with lingering flu-like symptoms is potentially infected with Lyme. Treated early with anti-biotics and anti-inflammatories, Lyme is cured. Left to degenerate untreated, it can have dire consequences. If you’re about to complete your medical assistant training with Allen School and enter a medical office, be armed with this knowledge!