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Teen Suffers Chronic Lyme Disease

WAVERLY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and one Eastern Iowa teenager is getting a head start on educating people on the dangers of the disease.

Olivia Evans, 15, became sick last summer. She isn't sure when she became infected, but now she has chronic lyme disease. Often she doesnt have the energy to go to school or hang out with friends.

 Ill see people walking along the sidewalk, and its just like, you dont really know how much of a privilege that is, Olivia explained.
Olivia has joint pain, gets tired easily, has heart dysrhythmias and can also have trouble with her speech among other symptoms. She often has episodes at night that leave her in terrible pain.

When shes in pain its horrible to watch, its indescribable. Youve already given her what you can give her for medication, theres nothing that can help, and you just have to try and let that pass, Olivias mother, Amber Evans, said.
The Evans said that they arent sure if there will ever be a cure for Olivia's condition. Lyme disease comes from being bit by a deer tick. Deer ticks are red and about the size of a poppy seed. Matthew Aucutt, M.D., the Medical Director at the Mercy Medical Center Emergency Room, explained that its important to find deer ticks on humans early. 

Once a tick has been on a person 24 hours, and it starts actually sucking blood from a person then it's able to transmit the disease, Aucutt said.

Aucutt urged anyone that visits a wooded area where deer can be found to use tick spray or to cover up. He also suggested that parents check small children if they may be exposed. Deer ticks are commonly found on the belt line and in the armpits. They are most common during late spring and early summer.

If lyme disease is caught early, it can easily be treated with antibiotics. But, for people like Olivia, the road can be much longer.
I just want to feel better, just a little better would be nice! Olivia said.

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