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Warning over the dangers of Lyme disease

WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A West Michigan woman is hoping to bring awareness to Lyme disease and how easy it is to become infected.

It was a tick bite in childhood that led Julie Allison to the diagnosis of Lyme disease just five years ago.

She spent 15 years in pain and searching for answers and now wants to educate others about the disease.

"As soon as I had my daughter 15 years ago it just attacked," said Julie Allison.

For 10 years Allison struggled with issues doctors couldn't explain.

"It was kind of a journey. It was an uphill struggle," she said.

Finally after dozens of tests and doctor visits, in 2010 she got an answer: Lyme disease. All from a tick bite in childhood.

"It is the number one fastest growing vector born disease in America," said Allison.

It's something she now struggles with daily.

"The symptoms are extremely debilitating. There's fatigue, it's crushing. There are neurological disturbances. Sometimes I have to use a cane," said Allison.

Allison's hoping by talking about her experience others will take precautions, especially this spring when ticks are at their worst.

"The tick population is astronomical and everyone really just needs to be careful," said Allison.

The way you can protect yourself against ticks and Lyme disease is to use a bug spray with DEET.

And to check yourself and your family for them after you've been outside.

If you do get bit by a tick and come down with flu-like symptoms within two weeks, get to your doctor to be tested and get antibiotics.

Julie Allison is also asking people to do the Lyme Disease Challenge.

She's asking you to look up one fact about Lyme disease, then get your phone out and record yourself stating that fact. After that take a big bite out of a lime and post it on social media. You can use the hashtag #LymeChallenge.

She's hoping the Lyme challenge will help spread the word about the disease and educate people about how easy it is to get.

For more information you can visit http://lymediseasechallenge.org/.

Related:

Ticks already out in full force in West Michigan this season

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