Central Ohio Technical College banner ad

Ianniello family battles Lyme disease

| May 22, 2018

Jon and Terri Ianniello and their two older daughters Sydney and Camryn have been diagnosed with Lyme disease. Their youngest was tested, but does not have the disease. Contributed | Beacon

COSHOCTON – For two years Jon and Terri Ianniello’s oldest daughter Sydney dealt with symptoms that no doctor could seem to explain.

“We went to multiple doctors, but it was a nutritionist that finally suggested we have her tested for Lyme disease,” Jon said.

Sydney was so fatigued that she would have to lie back down again within two hours of waking up.

“We went to Disney World last June and had to push her in a wheelchair,” Jon said.

Terri said the family reached a point where they didn’t know what to do anymore about Sydney’s health problems.

“I remember sitting at the table and praying and within a day or so I started remembering her getting bit by a tick,” Terri said. “I looked up Lyme disease and found this list of symptoms like muscle pain, high level of anxiety and hearing sensitivity that Sydney had.”

Lyme disease also can cause unique stretch marks on your hips and other co-infections, which the Ianniellos have all had varying degrees of. Since getting Sydney tested, Jon and Terri both found out they have Lyme disease and so does their middle daughter Camryn and Jon’s mother who lives next door to them. Their youngest daughter Harper does not have the disease.

They are all currently receiving treatment, but that is because of a lot of self advocacy.

“We did a lot of research,” Terri said. “The longer you go without treatment the longer you have to go with it. Not everyone gets the bullseye rash that you think of with Lyme disease. They call it the great imitator because it can look like other diseases like ALS or MS.”

The Ianniellos discovered that Lyme disease is more understood on the east coast and found doctors in New York and Connecticut to work with on their treatment.

“It’s been a major fight, but Lyme disease is treatable and curable,” Terri said. “Sydney has had to do schooling through a computer program but she was able this year to do a blended program where she went half the time to school.”

Jon and Terri are hoping their family’s story will bring more attention to the fact that Lyme disease is here in Ohio and that medical professionals gain more knowledge about it.

“We just really want to get the word out there,” Terri said. “Lyme disease affects all your systems and we really need doctors to start understanding it.”

Preventing tick bites on people

Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks

  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.

Repel Ticks on Skin and Clothing

  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin for protection that lasts several hours.
    • Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
  • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents with products containing 0.5% permethrin. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and may be protective longer.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an online tool to help you select the repellentthat is best for you and your family.

Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body

  • Take a bath or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within 2 hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.
  • Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.
    • If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed.
    • If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks effectively. If the clothes cannot be washed in hot water, tumble dry on low heat for 90 minutes or high heat for 60 minutes. The clothes should be warm and completely dry.

Preventing ticks on your pets

Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases. Vaccines are not available for all the tickborne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventive product on your dog.

Tick bites on dogs may be hard to detect. Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite if you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick.

To reduce the chances that a tick will transmit disease to you or your pets:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about tickborne diseases in your area.
  • Reduce tick habitat in your yard.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pet.

Preventing ticks in the yard

Create a Tick-Safe Zone Through Landscaping

You can make your yard less attractive to ticks depending on how you landscape. Here are some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce tick populations:

  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
  • Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.
  • Remove any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease

Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 days after tick bite)

  • Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash:
    • Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
    • Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days)
    • Expands gradually over a period of days reaching up to 12 inches or more (30 cm) across
    • May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
    • Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bull’s-eye” appearance
    • May appear on any area of the body

Later Signs and Symptoms (days to months after tick bite)

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme carditis)
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Problems with short-term memory

Editor’s note: The above tips were found online at www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/index.html.

Tags: , ,

Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

Comments are closed.