Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- I found a tick embedded in my skin, but I cant get it out. What should I do?
- Ive been bitten by a tick. Do I need to be seen?
- Do I need a blood test to confirm Lyme disease?
- Which antibiotic is best for me?
- How long will I have to take the antibiotic?
- What tick or insect repellent should I use for me or my child?
- How long will the symptoms last?
- What should I do if I still dont feel well a long time after I was bitten?
Theres No Lyme Disease Vaccine
There was a simple, safe, effective vaccine for Lyme disease about 20 years ago. Dr. Sam Telford, Director of the New England Regional Biosafety Laboratory at Tufts University, helped develop it in the early 1990s. Sadly, he says, it now sits on a shelf.
Telford and his team came up with a unique method where the vaccinated animals blood came into the tick and killed the bacteria before they had a chance to get into the body. SmithKline Beecham company, now GlaxoSmithKline, optioned the vaccine and tested it in three-phase clinical trials with 8,000 subjects, finding it safe and 60%70% effective in preventing illness. The FDA approved it for sale in 1998, but the company withdrew it in 2002 because of lawsuits.
Lyme disease activists said, Oh, well this vaccine gave us Lyme disease, or it gave us arthritis, Telford said. They instituted a class action lawsuit against SmithKline to the tune of $1 billion.
The CDC said there was no medical basis for the lawsuit, and it was thrown out of court. Still, the company got cold feet. They withdrew the vaccine from the market, and its been sitting in their freezer ever since.
In the meantime, a veterinary vaccine maker known as Meriel packaged the vaccine for use in dogs. Its essentially the same one that went through human clinical trials, says Telford. So we can vaccinate dogs against Lyme with a vaccine that is safe and effective, but we cant do it for humans.
Review Of The Medical Literature
Scientific studies supporting the efficacy of any of the treatments discussed above could not be found on review of the medical literature. Most of the cited treatments were never evaluated with any scientific study, although we did find that a few treatments were evaluated in studies that either were poorly designed or had unclear relevance to human disease.
Two studies are worth mentioning in more detail. A study of combination therapy with cholestyramine-atovaquone enrolled 25 patients with persistent symptoms after being diagnosed with and treated for babesiosis-Lyme disease coinfection . In this study, however, all patients received cholestyramine for the entirety of the trial, so no inferences could be made about its therapeutic efficacy.
The effect of hyperbaric oxygen on strains of B. burgdorferi was assessed both in vitro and in experimentally infected mice in one study . The investigators found that growth of the organism in vitro was inhibited by hyperbaric oxygen in 14 of 17 cultures. In addition, the organism was cultivable from the bladders of only 20% of mice treated with hyperbaric oxygen, compared with 90% of untreated mice. No study of this therapy in humans with Lyme disease has ever been published.
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How To Promote Healing From Lyme Disease
byJennifer Crystalon February 28, 2022
Here are several ways to support one’s recovery including following a Lyme diet, detoxing, and listening to your body.
If youve been diagnosed with Lyme disease, the most pressing question you probably have is, when will I get better? I wish there was a simple answer, but because every case of Lyme disease is different, healing looks different for each patient. If your Lyme disease was diagnosed right away, chances are youll feel better after a short course of antibiotics . If you were diagnosed at a later stage of the disease, the infection will be harder to treat, particularly if it is complicated by co-infections. Recovery also depends on your own immune system, how you respond to treatment, and any other co-morbidities you may have.
What is healing from Lyme disease and why does it matter?
The second part of this question is obvious: it matters because you want to resume your life! The first part is a bit more nuanced. Everyone wants to feel 100% better and be able to do everything they could before they got sick. If you have a clear-cut case of early localized Lyme disease, you may very well reach this goal. If your Lyme disease took a long time to get diagnosed, crossed the blood-brain barrier, is complicated by co-infections, or if other factors make your case more complex, recovery may not be so easy.
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The Lyme diet
How Do You Know If Your Lyme Disease Is Treated And Finished
Patients ask me this question all the time. We diagnose the disease, we treat with antibiotics, or herbs, or homeopathics. We feel better. We stop the treatment. And either we continue to feel better, or we relapse and have to start all over again.
Is there no way to test whether the spirochete is gone?
The Lyme disease.org website has an excellent article ondiagnosis of Lyme disease.
The National Geographic website has a good description of the deer tick, and thehistory of Lyme disease.
Standard Lyme testing includes the following:
- ELISA or IFA test
- If that test is positive, then a Western Blot test is run
- If 5 out of the 10 possible Lyme bands are positive, you are diagnosed with Lyme disease
- If fewer than 5 of the 10 possible bands are positive, you are diagnosed as negative.
Not all the bands which appear on a Western blot are specific to Lyme disease even though one ofthose non-specific bands is required by the CDC for diagnosis.
Two of the bands which are specific to Lyme disease are not on the CDC list of bands required to be positive.
How much sense does that make?
For more detailed information about the IFA and Western blot testing, check out theIGeneX website.
There is another test that can give us an idea whether the Lyme disease is actually gone out of our systems. This is an inflammatory marker, so it tells us whether there is continued inflammation or whether that inflammation is no longer present.
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Does Lyme Disease Go Away On Its Own
It’s certainly possible for people to get Lyme disease and to clear the infection on their own, without treatment, said Dr. Kuritzkes. “But it’s better to be treated, because some of the complicationslike arthritis and myocarditis and damage to the central nervous systemcan be very serious.”
The type of bacteria that causes Lyme disease is in the same general family as the type that causes syphilis, said Dr. Kuritzkes. “That doesn’t mean anything similar in terms of transmission, but syphilis has several different phases, with primary and secondary and tertiary symptoms,” said Dr. Kuritzkes. “The infection can hide out in the body for a long time and can cause problems down the road if it’s not treated.”
Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 3 to 30 days after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.
The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but its not painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans.
Some people with lighter skin have a rash thats solid red. Some people with darker skin may have a rash that resembles a bruise.
The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.
Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell. A rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
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My Husbands Life Was Also Changed
My husband also looked at me like I was a purple dinosaur. Four months after I returned from Be in Health, my husband attended the For My Life Retreat along with my father. My husband committed his life to Christ and was baptized. He cried as he gave his testimony from the baptismal tank and talked about how God had healed his wife and children. My dad had also struggled with relationships in his family, and he came home a different person. He reconciled with family members. They called me and said they felt like they had their brother back. He was restored to the person they remembered him to be in his youth!
What If I Don’t Feel Better After Treatment
If you’re treated for Lyme disease and don’t feel better after you’ve finished your treatment, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she may recommend a longer course of antibiotics or may be able to prescribe another medication to help with symptoms like joint or muscle pain.
You might also want to seek a second opinion, especially if your Lyme disease diagnosis was not initially confirmed via a two-step blood test. If your body has not responded to antibiotics, it’s possible that something else besides the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is making you sick.
Even if you do recover completely from a Lyme disease diagnosis, your immune system may continue making antibodies to fight Lyme disease bacteria for months or even years after the infection is gone. Those antibodies won’t protect you from getting a second Lyme disease infection, however, so be sure to take steps to protect yourself from ticks in the future.
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Hoping To Recreate The Success Of Others
I pursued every single treatment I read about, hoping to recreate others success in my own life. I even ended up across the world in India for an experimental stem cell transplant, thinking if the elusive cure wasnt in my country, it had to be in someone elses.
I never experienced the full recovery I was after.
It was about a year after my epic treatment in India, when I relapsed, that I finally stopped the searching. I just stopped. I stopped pointing to symptoms and syndromes, and the perceived external causes of those.
I quickly came to an epiphany: What if running all over trying to find the cure is actually steering me away from what I really need? What if each persons cure is a perfectly orchestrated succession of following their own intuition and no one elses path at all?
These questions were not easy to look at, but they were necessary. I began to gently analyze all the ways in my life that I had always been driven by fear that I wasnt good enough and that I wasnt doing enough.
The Key Symptom: Traveling Joint Pain
One dead giveaway for Lyme that all doctors agree on is traveling joint pain. Thats pain that starts in one joint and vanishes, showing up in another and another, and sometimes going away for weeks between bouts. There are very few other diseases that have that symptom. If you have traveling joint pain, you should seriously think about getting a Lyme test.
In fact, that moving joint pain was what tipped me off to get my son in to see a specialist when he suddenly got sick. I knew from experience that it wasnt normal that he woke up crying, complaining of pain in one knee one night, another knee another night, and his elbow on a third.
But it was incredibly frustrating to get treatment for him. His pediatrician agreed to test him, but the results came back negative. When I pressured her, feeling like a nut, she agreed to escalate the problem to the states chief epidemiologist. He tested my son, again with negative results. But the symptoms persisted. Thats when I asked my Lyme specialist about it.
Eighty percent chance hes got Lyme, just based on the traveling joint pain, he said. Twenty percent chance he doesnt. And no, we dont want to prescribe antibiotics if hes not sick, because that can cause problems. But if this was my kid, I would definitely have him on an antibiotic.
These patients end up seeing multiple specialists, and sometimes months or years after the initial symptoms, they finally arrive at a diagnosis.
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What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. In regions of the U.S. where Lyme disease is common, risk factors for getting bitten by a tick include:
- Spending a lot of time outdoors
- Proximity to areas between forest land and lawns, particularly if the area contains low-lying grasses or shrubs
Ticks can also attach to pets who may bring them into the home. The pet may become infected with Lyme disease. If the tick does not attach to the pet, it can attach to a human and transmit the infection.
Which Areas Are More Likely To Have It
The tick that causes Lyme disease has been moving from the Northeast and upper Midwest into the Southern and Western U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Cases in California and Florida are on the rise. After a drop between 2017 and 2018, the numbers jumped a little bit in 2019.
But most Lyme cases in 2019 were in 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Washington, DC, is also a hotspot.
In 2019, Pennsylvania had the most Lyme infections, with 6,763. New York was next, with 2,847 cases.
In the Southern U.S., where itâs hotter, ticks stay under leaves so they don’t dry out. This means people donât get Lyme from Southern ticks very often because they don’t usually come out to bite.
Even though people only report about 30,000 cases of Lyme infection in the U.S. each year, there are actually around 476,000 a year. The same tick also can spread other diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Powassan virus. Those diseases are also on the rise in the U.S.
Whoâs likeliest to get Lyme disease?
Boys up to age 15 and men between the ages of 40 and 60 are the most likely to get Lyme disease. Thatâs because they tend to play outside and go camping, hunting, and hiking.
Why are there more ticks now than there used to be?
There are several reasons why Lyme is spreading. Some of these are:
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Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
If stage 1 Lyme disease remains undiagnosed and untreated, it can progress to stage 2, or early disseminated, Lyme disease. This stage occurs 312 weeks after the initial tick bite.
The term disseminated indicates that the bacteria have spread throughout the body. At this stage, the infection may affect the following tissues:
- the skin
- nervous system
A person who has progressed to stage 2 Lyme disease may develop new symptoms alongside those from stage 1. These new symptoms may include:
- new rashes across the body
- conjunctivitis or vision problems
- poor memory and concentration
Sufferers Try Unconventional Treatments
Cashman, living in Cataract, Wisconsin was also diagnosed with Bartonella, or Cat scratch disease, and went through five years of systemic, holistic treatments, which included a host of herbs, antibiotics, a high dose of vitamin C and supplements. She also received ozone therapy and laser therapy for pain relief. She is now nearly symptom-free, but still deals with spine stiffness.
Stevens found two Lyme-literate doctors in Wisconsin who are versed in both Western and alternative medicine. She said she was co-infected with Relapsing Fever, Babesiosis and Bartonella. She said her treatments are highly individualized, and her doctors tweak her therapies from time to time. At one point, Stevens was on more than 40 types of herbs and supplements.
Im living proof that I got better as a result of all those herbal treatments, she said. I was not on antibiotics for four or five months.
Bertolasi turned to a Lyme-literate doctor who also treats one of her friends with similar symptoms. Besides Lyme, she was also diagnosed with Bartonella. She has completed a 14-month course of antibiotics. Now, besides taking herbal supplements, Bertolasi follows a strict diet excluding alcohol, dairy, gluten and sugar to reduce inflammation in her body.
She said she is at least 80% better than about a year ago. Her memory has somewhat returned. Still, brain fog waxes and wanes as does pain in her joints and lower back.
Read Also: Pictures Of Lyme Disease Carrying Ticks
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Symptoms can start anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite. They may look different depending on the stage of your infection. In some cases, you wonât notice any symptoms until months after the bite.
Early symptoms include:
Without treatment, symptoms can get worse. They might include:
- Severe headache or neck stiffness
- Rashes on other areas of your body
- Arthritis with joint pain and swelling, particularly in your knees
- âDroopingâ on one or both sides of your face
- Inflammation in your brain and spinal cord
- Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet
What does the rash look like?
Some Lyme rashes look like a bulls-eye with circles around the middle. But most are round, red, and at least 2 inches across.
The rash slowly gets bigger over several days. It can grow to about 12 inches across. It may feel warm to the touch, but itâs usually not itchy or painful. It can show up on any part of your body.
How small are ticks?
Ticks come in three sizes, depending on their life stage. They can be the size of a grain of sand, a poppy seed, or an apple seed.