For nearly 14 years, Ally Hilfiger, daughter of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, suffered bouts of strep throat, pain, difficulty concentrating and paranoia. She was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease when she was 18.
Now 31, Hilfiger is sharing her story in her new book, “Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy and Almost Killed Me.”
"I was seven years old when I got bit by a tick. Lyme disease is in 50 states and 80 countries. We frequented many of those countries and states, but we think it might have been somewhere around Nantucket or the Hamptons because that's where my mom found the tick," Hilfiger told Fox5.
After being misdiagnosed for years, Hilfiger ended up in a psychiatric hospital for four months, where she was correctly diagnosed.
Typical symptoms of Lyme disease, which is transmitted through bites of infected ticks, include fever, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and nervous system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If treated early with antibiotics, patients usually recover, but those with certain neurological or cardiac forms of the illness may require intravenous treatment.
Hilfiger, now a mother to an 18-month-old, is healthy and her disease is being managed, but does have her bad days, she told Fox 5.