Wednesday, May 1, 2019 12:38 PM

What I Learned About Lyme Disease After Losing My Daughter

By Jody Hudson, Founder of the Alex Hudson Lyme Foundation

On March 24, 2018, I lost my 22 year old daughter to Lyme disease and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). After a decade of being shuttled in/out of hospitals, doctors’ offices, and eventually being labeled a “medical mystery,” Alex finally received the proper diagnosis in May of 2017. By then, it was too late. The ten year journey and misdiagnoses had taken its toll on Alex’s body. Never one to give up hope, Alex battled courageously.

Two things happened when Alex learned of her disease: she devoted herself to learning as much as she could about Lyme disease and MCAS, and she informed me that she not only wanted to beat the disease, but just as important, she wanted to become a vessel of change for the Lyme and MCAS communities. Upon Alex’s death, I carried out her wishes. I took up her crusade and formed the Alex Hudson Lyme Foundation to address this often misdiagnosed and complicated disease. 

The Alex Hudson Lyme Foundation was formed in June of 2018. The foundation’s mission is dedicated to creating education and awareness for the Lyme Community, while raising funds for research specific to MCAS. Current statistics show that over 400,000 new cases of Lyme disease occur annually in the United States. If that trend continues, by 2022 there will be 1,200,000 cases of Lyme disease recorded. And that is just the number of reported cases. Education, awareness, and prevention is key to stopping this trend. 

One day, I hope that no family goes through what ours did. For now, the first step is prevention.

Here are some tips to protect you and your loved ones from getting Lyme disease:

  • Wear light-colored long-sleeve clothing to prevent ticks from getting to your skin and make them easily visible
  • Tuck pant legs into your socks when spending time in outdoor areas
  • Use insect repellent
    • Spray it on outdoors and wash it off before you come in
    • Repellents with at least 20% DEET show to be the most effective
    • Natural repellents (like rose geranium oil and citrus oil) can be effective – but DEET is the most effective.
  • When outdoors, do regular “tick checks” for adults, children and pets. Brush off any that aren’t attached and remove any that are.
  • Shower as soon as you return from the outdoors. It will wash away any unattached ticks and will give you a chance to inspect yourself.
  • Consult with your veterinarian on tick-protection for pets. Their fur can carry ticks into your home.
  • After coming indoors, throw your clothing into the dryer for 5 – 10 minutes to kill any ticks on clothing
  • Spray your outdoor clothing with permetherin (available at most outdoor stores). Permethin kills ticks on contact, but should never be sprayed on skin

Share these important tips during May – Lyme Disease Awareness Month.  Click here to learn more about Lyme disease to help us to carry out Alex’s wishes so no one has to be labeled a “medical mystery.”

About the Author
Jody Hudson is Alex’s mother and founder of the Alex Hudson Lyme Foundation (AHLF). Jody formed the AHLF to not only advocate awareness for the Lyme community, but also raise funds for proper treatment and testing specific to Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.

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