Sherry Bender had Lyme disease for eight years. She felt the symptoms but never knew what was causing them.
Now her company, Affiniton, 49 E. Fourth St., offers two products that test ticks for the bacteria that carries the disease, allowing those at risk to take preemptive measures before enough time has passed for a proper diagnosis, which can range from about four to six weeks.
During hunting season, concerns about ticks and Lyme disease abound.
Lymenator is packaged with a buffer tube and solution, a test cassette, pipette and a spatula. The plastic container on the left is called Lil Buggas, in which to store ticks if a Lymenator tick test is not readily available.
About 300,000 people each year are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the United States, all of whom contracted the disease through a bite from a tick infected with the disease-carrying bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If the disease goes untreated for a significant amount of time, it can cause serious problems for an individual, including swelling and joint pain, not to mention an inability to focus, among other, more serious symptoms.
Such was the case with Bender.
Through her company's products - Lymenator, for humans, and Lymealyzer, for animals - Bender and her husband and business partner, Ronald Lassiter II, hope to reduce uncertainty for people who think they or their animals might have a chance of contracting the disease.
"I'd been to several doctors," Bender said of her delayed diagnosis. "Some told me I had acid reflux; others told me I had IBS. Not a lot of insurance companies cover Lyme disease, and it's not the first thing that doctors will look for."
Her frustration with being constantly misdiagnosed motivated her and Lassiter, who once had a minor case of the disease, to finally take matters into their own hands.
"If someone thinks they might have the disease but eventually finds out they don't, they will have already spent more money than necessary," Lassiter said. "Lymenator is an affordable way for those at risk to find out if they need medical attention."
As of right now, the products are available directly through Affiniton, on Amazon.com and through various distributors such as massage therapists and chiropractors.
Massage therapist Tiffany Repsher, whose Naturopathic Wellness Center in Leraysville offers the product, said that Lymenator is a "test that I trust and one that I will continue to use."
"My husband had a severe case of Lyme disease," Repsher said. "He had been unable to walk, had extreme brain fog, extreme joint pain and would sleep for 18 to 20 hours. Because of his experience, I wanted to see if there was a test out there that could give faster results."
Soon, Bender and Lassiter hope to make their products accessible to all.
"We want them in the workplace, schools and in the home," Lassiter said. "No one wants to limit their outdoor activities just because they are afraid of Lyme disease."
"We know of one hunter who stopped hunting entirely because he was so scared," Bender said.
The test itself is simple. Each package contains a buffer tube and solution, a test cassette, a pipette and a spatula.
To use Lymenator, place a tick in the tube containing the solution, then crush it with the spatula. The tube then is shaken before the solution inside it is extracted with the pipette and dropped onto the cassette.
Within 5 to 10 minutes, the results will appear on the cassette's rectangular display. If the tick tests positive for the bacteria, the result appears as two vertical red bars; a negative result shows one bar.
For more information regarding pricing and availability, visit www.affiniton.com.