Some ticks in Oklahoma might carry bacteria that could cause Lyme disease

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 08:06:11-04

As the days start to continuously get warmer, the tick presence starts to creep up again in Green Country bringing with it the potential for disease.

Because ticks can carry bacteria that could generate diseases, one woman in Bixby battling Lyme disease is sharing her story in the hopes of preventing other cases this summer.

Alyssa Layman says she has to use an oxygen tank to breathe and must rely on IV fluids every day.

"I work really, really hard to have a positive attitude," says Layman. "[I] find things in my day that I enjoy."

Layman says she was bit by an infected seed tick in June 2012, just one month after she got married and started college.

She noticed a couple of bug bites after she went fishing in Arkansas, but never felt any symptoms until a few months later.

"I had mood swings, started running a fever, had extreme pain," says Layman.

According to the Centers for Control Disease and Prevention, patients with Lyme disease usually recover quickly with antibiotics. However, some people may experience symptoms for more than six months.

"My mom comes home every day, helps me wash my hair, do dishes, helps me cook because I can't cook for myself," says Alyssa Layman.

Although Lyme disease is rare in Oklahoma, a 2015 study showed there are more cases reported further west than there used to be.

That is why Layman is doing what she can to spread the knowledge of how the disease is procured and how to prevent it.

The latest numbers show a total of 393 cases of tick-borne illnesses in the state in 2015 compared to 42 in Tulsa. In 2014, the state saw 312 cases compared to 51 in Tulsa.

A spokesperson from the Tulsa Health Department  says the numbers for 2016 are not yet available, however, tick bites could be more prominent in Tulsa due to a mild winter season.

Layman wants others to be aware of any strange bites and take action quickly.

"If you get a rash of any kind around a bug bite, definitely go in, get tested," says Layman.

Her family is fundraising money to get help with future treatment because her health insurance doesn't cover all expenses.

Layman keeps a blog titled "Life, Love and Lyme."