Accommodation Ideas for Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which are transmitted to humans by the bite of infected deer ticks. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Lyme disease is associated with a "bull's-eye" rash and/or lesion called erythema migrans. Other nonspecific symptoms include fever, malaise, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint aches. Later symptoms of Lyme disease can include chronic pain, arthritis, meningitis, tingling and burning sensations in the extremities, Bell's palsy, chronic fatigue, depression, and heart, vision, respiratory, and gastrointestinal-related problems.
Accommodation ideas for individuals with Lyme Disease:
- Pain: Lyme disease may result in chronic pain and arthritic-type symptoms. For additional information on accommodations for chronic pain and arthritis, visit SOAR's Accommodation Ideas for Arthritis and JAN's publication titled Accommodating People with Chronic Pain.
- Fatigue: Fatigue is often associated with Lyme Disease. Possible solutions include a reduced work schedule, periodic rest breaks, a transfer to a less physically demanding job, and the flexible use of leave time. Individuals may also benefit from implementing ergonomic principles. For additional information on ergonomics, visit: Ergonomics in the Workplace: A Resource Guide. For more information on chronic fatigue, visit SOAR's Accommodation Ideas for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
- Stress Management: Individuals who have had Lyme disease often benefit from reduction or elimination of stress. This may involve reducing stress in the individual's current position, transfer to a less stressful position, a flexible schedule to recover from any effects caused by workplace stress, and work at home to avoid workplace stress. Access to employee assistance programs (EAP) may also be helpful.
- Managing Depression: Because some individuals with Lyme disease have short or long-term depression, developing workplace strategies to deal with work problems before they arise, providing sensitivity training to coworkers, allowing telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for support, and easy access to information on counseling and employee assistance programs are beneficial.
- Skin Sensitivity: Individuals with Lyme Disease may experience skin sensitivity around the tick bite. Individuals may need protective clothing, to avoid certain hazarous chemicals, and reassignment if their previous jobs involved working outside.
- Headache: Migraine headaches may be one long-term effect of Lyme disease. For additional information on accommodations for migraine headaches, visit SOAR's Accommodation Ideas for Individuals with Migraine Headaches.
- Dealing with loss of vision: An individual with Lyme disease may have vision limitations. Visit JAN's SOAR for Vision Impairments for accommodation ideas.