When you hear the word “literate” you may think of being able to read and write. You are correct. However, what it also means is that you have learned the skills to do both.
A much broader definition of “literate” is that you can demonstrate what it takes to complete an action. For instance, you can be physically literate by obtaining the knowledge, competence, and experience needed to enhance your health through physical movement.
Or, you can be computer literate by obtaining basic knowledge and skills necessary to operate a computer and software.
When using the term “literate” in the medical field, it is comparable to a doctor who specializes in a specific area of medicine. A psychiatrist is mental health literate. An endocrinologist is Diabetes literate. A doctor specializing in Lyme disease is considered Lyme Literate.
While there are no special college degrees that prove your doctor is Lyme literate, there are things you can look for when searching for the right one. Lyme literate doctors go out of their way to improve their expertise in this area.
This expertise, when shared in treating your Lyme disease, gives you advantages, some of which are written below.
When a doctor becomes literate in Lyme disease, they have taken steps to learn everything they can about the disease. They have taken special courses on Lyme when available. They have also attended conferences and have even become certified by societies like the International Lyme and Associated Diseases.
There are doctors who prefer to be the only treatment provider assigned to a patient. This is a red flag because one doctor cannot specialize in the myriad of problems a body can have. It is best to work with a doctor who is connected to other Lyme literate doctors and aren’t afraid to refer you to someone who has more knowledge or experience.
This shows that their goal is to offer you the best possible treatment options, including ones that complement their protocols.
If your doctor is Lyme literate, they will be a proponent of collaborative care. They will also have memberships and possible leadership roles in associations for Lyme disease.
The number of patients your doctor has successfully treated for Lyme disease matters.
A Lyme literate doctor has treated many patients. They have created individualized treatment plans for each patient because they know every person is different and will have different symptoms.
Lyme literate doctors can provide you with exact numbers of how many patients they have treated with Lyme diseases, the statistics of their patient outcomes, and can even give you references of patients they have helped.
A Lyme Literate Doctor Understands Co-Infections
Lyme disease is often accompanied by a co-infection like babesia and bartonella species. Knowing how to properly diagnose and treat Lyme disease is one thing. Knowing how to detect, diagnose and treat Lyme’s co-infections is another, more important thing.
It’s important because if you don’t treat both infections, your symptoms can linger.
Lyme literate doctors are educated on co-infections and know which treatments work to eliminate the infections best.
They Are Researchers
Lyme literate doctors want to know more so they can do more to help people suffering from Lyme disease. Because of this, they continually participate in research in this specialty area. What they learn, they share.
Lyme literate doctors often make discoveries and have them published in journals so other doctors can learn too. Lyme literate doctors who research and publish their findings are respected in the medical community.
Use Integrative Treatments
Lyme literate doctors know that there may not be a one size fits all treatment for those with Lyme disease. Each person is different. They have different genetics, different environments, different backgrounds, and different infections. They even have different levels of symptoms, from mild to severe.
Lyme literate doctors will use a variety of treatments like therapeutic apheresis, hyperthermia, and more depending on the unique circumstances of each patient.
They Stay Up to Date
Because new technologies, new data and other advancements happen daily, Lyme literate doctors know how to stay up to date. They do things like read the latest news in the field of Lyme. In addition, they subscribe to news sites that alert them on everything related to the disease.
Test and Diagnose
When you go to your family doctor with a suspicion of Lyme disease, they will give you a Lyme disease test. They may give you the Western Blot Test or the ELISA or both. Both is always better.
Those two tests do not always give accurate results, however, because they only test for the antibodies of the bacteria associated with Lyme disease.
Antibodies show up at different times in each person. This means for the tests to be accurate, need to be administered when the antibodies are in your blood. There is no way to determine this.
Non-Lyme literate doctors do not like to test and retest. But Lyme literate doctors know this is necessary, and they also know about new and upcoming tests that may be available.
Lyme literate doctors don’t just give you a diagnosis, treat you and send you home. They provide you with a multitude of resources throughout the process, from before you are evaluated, to after care.
Resources may include beneficial supplements, detox therapies, websites or books with helpful information, conferences for Lyme patients, support groups, and more.
They Answer Your Questions
Finally, Lyme literate doctors welcome questions you may have when it comes to your diagnosis. They like answering questions because they know the right answers.
If your doctor gets defensive or refuses to answer questions about your health, or their experience in treating Lyme disease, then he or she is not Lyme literate.
The most important advantage of having a Lyme literate doctor is that they truly make your health a priority. They give you the time and effort you deserve.