Gifts to Avoid for Lyme Disease Sufferers
Many Lyme disease sufferers have a reduced tolerance for loud noise, flashing and bright lights, small print and overpowering smells. This all adds up to a pretty long list of things that are unlikely to go down well with someone healing from Lyme disease.
- Perfume and cologne
- Sporting goods
- Awkward clothing and jewellery
- Heavy items
- Small print books
- Bright, flashy games and gadgets
Stress and Lyme Disease
Fighting an infection, and the medical establishment, can be pretty tough-going at times, meaning that many Lyme disease sufferers (as well as those with any acute or chronic illness) are stressed out even before contemplating making dinner for the extended family. Partners, parents, children, relatives and friends of Lyme disease sufferers can all help out by making Christmas dinner a potluck, sharing present-buying responsibilities, avoiding gifting excessively loud children’s toys that can hurt sensitive ears and by doing some of the heavy lifting and more energetic seasonal activities (think sledding, fetching the tree, decorating, carrying a turkey if you’re eating one). If all else fails, book your loved one in for a post-Christmas massage, run them a nice hot bath or give them a relaxing lavender-scented heat wrap to soothe the aches and pains of the day.
The synthetic nature of many perfumes can irritate those with chronic illnesses or infections, so it might be a good idea to skip the traditional perfume gift and avoid spraying cologne or scent around the patient. You might want to consider a fragrance-free Christmas altogether and find places in your local community that have a scent-free space; many community cafes encourage this approach.
Sports for Lyme Disease
The joint pain that can arise with Lyme disease can also rule out some gifts that put strain on the body, such as dance mats or other interactive games. A Lyme disease sufferer who has significant Lyme Arthritis may no longer be able to enjoy a round of golf or a game of squash so find out first before accidentally reminding them of their current mobility issues. Perhaps they have taken up a new hobby that is lower impact and would be happy with the gift of company at a yoga class or aqua aerobics session. It could be that a new extra-thick, phthalate-free yoga mat or a monthly pass to a spa or gym is welcome, especially as the costs of Lyme disease antibiotics mount up.
Clothing and Jewellery for Lyme Disease Patients
Items of clothing that are hard to put on and take off are also a recipe for disappointment for many Lymies as they may struggle with clasps and buttons or find certain materials irritating to the skin. The same is true of many people with fibromyalgia who often resort to loose, seamless clothing. If in doubt, check with your loved one or keep the receipt so items can be exchanged if necessary. A simple soft t-shirt that supports a Lyme disease charity can be a nice gesture. The same goes for jewellery as some Lyme disease patients develop sensitivities to certain metals and may no longer be able to wear earrings for fear or a reaction.
Helpful Gifts and Mobility Aids for Lymies
Many Lyme disease sufferers experience pain and discomfort in their joints, as well as having nerve pains. This may mean that braces, strapping and supports are needed to prevent further damage and help reduce discomfort. Some sufferers require walkers, canes or even wheelchair assistance to get around and many feel self-conscious about these objects. Show the Lyme disease sufferer in your life that you are there to help, not judge, and perhaps even offer to help decorate their new mobility aids with a dash of paint, some stickers and glitter. Personalizing a walker may seem a little odd but if you work together it can make a huge difference to how your loved one feels about being seen with such aids.
Books for Lyme Disease Sufferers
Other useful things that a Lyme disease patient may like in their stocking include audiobooks to take the pain out of reading tiny print. A collection of interesting podcasts or a gift voucher for audible.com or iTunes could help while away those hours while healing from Lyme disease. Otherwise, go old school and think about a bookmark magnifying glass, some large-print books or a CD audiobook. Having Lyme disease does not just mean reading about antibiotics and conspiracy theories, it is still possible to enjoy high brow literature, just in a slightly different way. Of course, inspiring stories about overcoming Lyme disease may be just the thing to help your loved one feel motivated and less anxious about chronic symptoms.
Shopping for a Lyme disease sufferer might seem a little daunting, especially if their illness is preventing them doing all the things you know they love. Don’t despair, however, just do a little research, put yourself in their (comfortable) shoes and keep hold of receipts. If nothing else, give the gift of time and support, those are, after all, the best presents for Lymies.