“Lyme WNY” promotes vigilance during Lyme Disease Awareness Month


WESTERN NEW YORK (WIVB) — It’s not uncommon to get bit by a bug during the warmer months. But The founder of Lyme WNY, Rebecca Roll, say from just a few spray you could be saving years of suffering with Lyme disease.

“I always tell people, I’m like ‘when you get up and it’s a sunny day you typically put on your sunscreen. Or you get dressed…and put your bug spray on, as if it’s part of your daily routine,” said Roll.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Spread by ticks, sometimes bites can be as tiny as the tip of a pen. It can often go unnoticed and untreated. Roll says that’s when the trouble starts.

“If you do get bit by a tick and you’ don’t realize it you start to develop flu like symptoms.”

But that’s just the beginning. Fatigue, short term memory loss, and speech problems can come later on.
For Rebecca and her family, its a struggle they’re all too familiar with. Her husband, Chuk, was diagnosed with Lyme disease after suffering from a long list of health problems.

“He doesn’t stop…And he was literally brought to his knees. There were days where we questioned whether he would make it to the next morning”.

Today, Chuk is living with Lyme — still being treated with antibiotics. But Rebecca says, this is their way of life.

“I don’t think people realize…it’s not something you have for two weeks. It could be something you have for the rest of your life”.

The Erie County Health Department says on their website that there are infected deer ticks throughout the state.

“We’re seeing it everywhere, it’s not just a camping problem, it’s not just a wooded problem,” said Roll. “This is a backyard, front yard, playground, soccer field problem. This is something that is everywhere.”

Mindfulness is Rebecca’s biggest piece of advice.

“Lyme doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re young, if you’re old, it doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re outside and you’re a warm body they’re looking for you”.

Abby Fridmann is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of her work here.

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