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Tick bites wipe out family's energy, finances

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Symptoms first surfaced after a bad case of the flu. A rash and a fever occurred, and then it got much worse. Symptoms first surfaced after a bad case of the flu. A rash and a fever occurred, and then it got much worse.
Kelly and Lee Nanney's children were both bitten by an infected seed tick. Kelly and Lee Nanney's children were both bitten by an infected seed tick.
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    Kentucky, Indiana Lyme disease resources

    Wednesday, July 17 2013 11:03 PM EDT2013-07-18 03:03:13 GMT
    For resources about Lyme disease from the Kentucky Cabinet of Health & Family services, click here.To get in touch with the Kentuckiana Lyme Disease Support Group, click here. For Norton Healthcare Lyme DiseaseFull Story >
    For resources about Lyme disease from the Kentucky Cabinet of Health & Family services, click here.To get in touch with the Kentuckiana Lyme Disease Support Group, click here. For Norton Healthcare Lyme DiseaseFull Story >
GERMANTOWN, TN -

(WMC-TV) - It is a tiny pest with a big bite that can do major damage. One Germantown family said it only took one infected tick to change their entire lifestyle – something they have been dealing with for the past seven years.

Kelly and Lee Nanney's children were both bitten by an infected seed tick.

The family's home kitchen is covered in medical supplies, prescription bottles, and more as their 22-year-old son, Wilson, and 19-year-old daughter, Shelby suffer from Lyme disease.

"Every day is just a struggle, especially with the fatigue. I mean, it takes a lot of energy to just get up and shower," said Wilson who was bitten by a tick about the size of a period at the end of a sentence.

Symptoms first surfaced after a bad case of the flu. A rash and a fever occurred, and then it got much worse.

"I couldn't walk at times. I was having blind spots in my vision. I was having double vision. Sometimes I couldn't grip things right. And, when you're 15, it's like crap, my body is breaking down," said Wilson.

Lyme disease is typically transferred through the bite of a seed tick nymph.

They are harder to see than other bugs. Also, they go unnoticed long enough for their poison to take hold.

The CDC says more than 25,000 people will develop Lyme disease this year alone.

The Nanney family didn't know what was wrong with their children at the beginning.

"Shelby was starting to get really fatigued. All the other soccer moms were noticing that she wasn't keeping up. It was very out of her character," said Kelly.

After being misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome, the tests finally revealed Lyme disease. For the next seven months, the family traveled to Kansas for IV antibiotics twice a day, three hours at a time.

"I look at Lyme disease, and I'm thinking, well, there is a cure. It's a bacteria. You can get rid of it, but the symptoms," said Kelly. "Shelby is better to me. She's more doable, but Wilson is still stuck. I mean he's stuck in "I'm not well," and I don't know how long it is going to take."

Shelby's health improved enough for her to finish her first year of college at the University of Memphis.

"I'm going to school, and I have a job. I can get up and go most of the time," said Shelby.

Wilson struggles daily with a disease that's not only wiped out his energy, but also his family's finances.

Lee said more than $300,000 was spent on medical related expenses.

"We're just so in debt because of this, and that's not something you really want to talk about in front of your kids, you know," said Kelly. "You know, we just want them well."

The best advice is to be vigilant, but prevention is key.

Experts recommend daily tick checks after being outdoors, even in your own yard. They said to be sure to check hair, ears, belly button, under your arms, around your waist, behind your knees and between your legs.

"You just keep hoping and praying and trusting and knowing ... It's going to end at some point," said Kelly.

More information on how to prevent Lyme disease here. The State of Arkansas' Advice on Lyme disease here.

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