Question : What Can I Do To Reduce Herxheimer Reactions
Answer: Within a day or two of starting a new treatment regimen, you might notice your symptoms take a turn for the worse intense fatigue, difficulty sleeping, increased pain, and new onset flu-like symptoms. This is known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction, and over time, has been shortened to Herxheimer Reaction or simply, herxing.
A typical explanation of a Herxheimer Reaction in people with Lyme disease is that when Borrelia bacteria are killed off by an antibiotic or herbal therapy, parts of dead bacteria called endotoxins are shed in the body. These endotoxins then circulate throughout the body and cause an intense whole-body inflammatory reaction. And that makes the war against microbes thats already going on inside you even worse.
Although the intensification of your symptoms can be disconcerting, if youre treating Lyme, the odds are good youll experience at least some amount of herxing. Here are ways to support your body through this process:
How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine for Lyme disease. But you can avoid Lyme disease by avoiding tick bites, checking for ticks, and removing ticks promptly, before they become lodged in the skin. Some tips:
Avoid tick playgrounds: Ticks like low-level shrubs and grasses, particularly at the edges of wooded areas. If youre hiking, try to stay in the center of the trail and avoid bushwhacking. Walk on cleared paths or pavement through wooded areas and fields when possible.
Dress appropriately: Long pants with legs tucked into socks and closed-toed shoes will help keep ticks away from skin. Light-colored clothing helps make ticks visible.
Insect repellant: Products that contain DEET repel ticks but do not kill them and are not 100 percent effective. Use a brand of insect repellent that is designated as child-safe if your child is 1 year or older. For infants, check with your pediatrician about what brands are safe to use. You can also treat clothing with a product that contains permethrin, which is known to kill ticks on contact.
Shower after outdoor activities are done for the day. It may take four to six hours for ticks to attach firmly to skin. Showering will help remove unattached ticks.
- all parts of the body that bend: behind the knees, between fingers and toes, underarms and groin
- other areas where ticks are commonly found: belly button, in and behind the ears, neck, hairline, and top of the head
- anywhere clothing presses on the skin
Cut Out Caffeine Alcohol And Smoking
Your body needs all the help it can get to fight through a Lyme disease diagnosis. That means you dont want to be consuming anything that can harm your body. Try to limit the amount of caffeine you take in since it can be hard on your body, as well as alcohol . As for smoking, you should cut that habit immediately as it can cause even more serious health problems for you.
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Question : How Do I Know If I Have Coinfections Can I Test For Them
Answer: As you get to know Lyme disease, youll understand that the illness is much more complicated than an infection with Borrelia burgdorferi. Aside from Borrelia, the most commonly described tick-borne microbes associated with Lyme disease include Mycoplasma, Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Rickettsia, and more recently Chlamydia these are called coinfections, and they are remarkably common.
Additionally, research is discovering lesser known and lesser virulent species of these microbes that are associated with chronic Lyme. Reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus and herpes-type viruses are common in chronic Lyme, too.
When you start seeing chronic Lyme disease for what it is chronic immune dysfunction, with a pot of stealth microbes boiling over the compulsion to test for specific microbes becomes less relevant. There are always possibilities that cant be accounted for. When I evaluate a person with possible chronic Lyme disease, its easier to just assume that Borrelia and other stealth microbes are present and playing a role in that persons symptoms. This allows me to have less reliance on testing because lab results are often unreliable.
The only time that I find value in testing is when a patient isnt doing well, despite doing all the right things. But even then, test results have to be taken with a grain of salt.
Current Challenges And Future Priorities
Patients with PTLD represent a substantial burden to the United States health care system. In a large, health insurance claims analysis of 47 million members, estimated total direct medical costs from Lyme disease were between $712 million and $1.3 billion per year, with a significant portion of these specifically due to PTLD-related costs . The same study found that the adjusted odds of any PTLD-related symptom diagnosis following Lyme disease was 4.77 higher than age-, sex-, enrollment year-, region- and payer type-matched controls without Lyme disease, and that those patients with Lyme disease who went on to have at least one PTLD symptom had over twice the average total health care costs as those who did not . These cost estimates do not reflect additional indirect, non-medical, and lost productivity costs to patients, which may be substantial in a population with a chronic and significant illness impact on quality of life . Novel preventative approaches to reduce incidence of new Lyme disease cases, as well as physician and community educational interventions to increase awareness and reduce diagnostic delays and misdiagnosis, are needed to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes.
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What Support Is Available For Those Living With Lyme Disease
Anyone who suffers from Lyme disease must be able to know that theres hope. Fortunately, theres support available for people who have to live with this condition. Its a fact that Lyme disease can be a very isolating condition. A lot of people diagnosed with this disease are usually in the late or chronic stages. Also, many of those people are severely affected because of poor health. At its worst, people might lose their homes, their jobs, and a lot of their relationships. The best thing to do is surround oneself with those who can provide the support needed.
Answers To The 10 Lyme Questions I Get Asked Most
Experiencing debilitating symptoms day after day without finding satisfactory solutions and answers to your many questions is one of the most frustrating parts of dealing with Lyme disease. Sometimes, your body feels as though its betraying you joint pain, fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues, and impaired immune function are probably just the tip of the iceberg of what you endure on a consistent basis.
Often, Im asked the same questions about how to cope and recover from Lyme disease. In this article, I aim to answer some of your most pressing concerns, and to give you the tools you need to improve your health and help you heal from the devastating blow of a chronic illness. Ultimately, I believe you can recover just as I did and lead an active, fulfilling life!
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General Tips And Tricks For Those Living With Lyme Disease
Unfortunately, no matter how much one tries to prevent getting the disease, there may come a time when the person acquires the infection anyway. In such cases, the best thing to do is live with the disease and prevent it from getting worse.
If one wants to heal from the disease, its important to keep the immune system healthy and functioning optimally. When a person consumes sugar-based food or drinks, it will temporarily depress the immune system for as long as 12 hours. A lot of people who have this disease have damaged GI systems. Therefore, they need to stay away from foods which tend to put extra stress on their gut such as dairy and gluten.
- Get ready for the long haul. The treatment of Lyme disease can run quite long. As a matter of fact, the average time one would spend for treating Lyme disease is about 2 years. Of course, some people dont need this much time while others require longer treatment. When treated properly, a lot of people are able to achieve remission. Unfortunately, when their immune systems are under stress or when they experience stressful situations, the disease tends to return. Thats why people who have had this condition need to keep on monitoring their health even if theyre able to get into remission. That way, they will be able to overcome the relapse quickly.
How Do I Remove A Tick
You should know how to remove a tick just in case one lands on you or a friend. To be safe, remove the tick as soon as possible.
If you find a tick:
- Use tweezers to grasp the tick firmly at its head or mouth, next to your skin.
- Pull firmly and steadily on the tick until it lets go of the skin. If part of the tick stays in your skin, don’t worry. It will eventually come out. But call your doctor if you notice any irritation in the area or symptoms of Lyme disease.
- Swab the bite site with alcohol.
Note: Don’t use petroleum jelly or a lit match to kill a tick. They won’t get the tick off your skin quickly enough, and may just cause it to burrow deeper into your skin.
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When Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme
The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. Take a photo of the rash and see your doctor. At this stage, treatment with antibiotics will probably work.
If you don’t have the rash but have symptoms like fatigue, fever, and headache but no respiratory symptoms like a cough, you may want to talk to your doctor.
Dont Be Afraid To Ask For Reasonable Accommodations
If you feel you could sustain your job with a few adjustments to your schedule, work environment, office accessibility, or something else deemed as reasonable or plausible, you have a right to request it from your employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act .
The goal of the ADA guidelines is to allow people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to participate in employment opportunities regardless of whether the job is full-time, part-time, or a probationary period. Areas covered by the ADA include:
- Ensuring the building facilities are accessible
- Restructuring responsibilities to add new tasks, reallocating previous tasks, or redistributing certain functions of the job
- Modified work schedules
- Providing equipment that assists with your job duties
- Changing or modifying testing methods, training manuals, or company policies
- Providing an employee with reading devices or interpreters
- Transferring to another job that is more accommodating to your disabilities or chronic illnesses
Examples of some of the accommodations that you could request to help you perform your job duties include:
- Adjusting your work hours to favor the times when you are the most productive
- Taking additional rest breaks throughout the day
- Incorporating work-from-home days each week
- Asking for a more comfortable chair or modifying your workspace to reduce pain
- Requesting a closer parking spot to shorten the distance you need to walk to the building
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Question : How Do I Cope With A Relapse Its Very Discouraging
Answer: Its true, relapses can be very disheartening, but setbacks are an inevitable part of the process of recovering from chronic illness. When youre feeling overwhelmed, remember this: This setback is just a bump in the road. Sometimes a big bump, but still just a bump not a mountain. Youwill get back on track.
Fortunately, with time, setbacks gradually become less common and less intense. As you get better at self-analysis and self-correcting, youll get back on track more quickly. When a setback occurs , do not become mired in depression and fear that will only hold you back. Its time to become proactive.
To overcome a setback, get in the habit of going through the list of those five System Disruptors I mentioned earlier that lead to immune system dysfunction to look for causes generally, youll find your answers there. To refresh your memory, they are:
Possibly the most important encouragement I can pass along is that as my condition has progressively improved over the years, setbacks are fewer and briefer. Now, even after considering myself recovered, I still occasionally get them, but recovery is usually a matter of days, not weeks.
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Can Lyme Cause Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a collection of symptoms that arise when nerves become damaged. Although it is most often associated with health conditions such as diabetes, Lyme disease can actually lead to neuropathy if the borrelia bacteria manages to infiltrate and damage the nerves in the nervous system.
The type of neuropathy that develops in a person with neurological Lyme disease is typically referred to as peripheral neuropathy, which leads to numbness and weakness in the limbs, paralysis of facial muscles, and pain in the limbs.
It can be hard to determine if neuropathy is caused by Lyme disease in someone who is unaware that they have the condition, so diagnosing Lyme disease based on the symptoms of neuropathy alone can be a difficult process.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Tick bites are usually painless and most people do not know they have been bitten. Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary greatly from person to person, and may appear anywhere between 3 to 30 days after a person has been bitten.
Symptoms often include:
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Skin rash.
One sign of infection can be an expanding rash, sometimes referred to as a “bull’s eye” rash because it may have rings spreading from the bite site ). It is important to note that rashes without the bull’s eye may occur, and that rashes do not appear in every case of Lyme disease infection.
The PHAC states that if left untreated, more severe symptoms may occur and can last from months to years. Severe symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches
- Additional EM skin rashes..
- Neurological disorders
- Nervous system disorders, including facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy .
- Intermittent muscle, joint, tendon, and bone aches
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and less commonly in other joints such as the ankle, elbow, and wrists.
If untreated, a condition called late disseminated Lyme disease may occur. PHAC reports symptoms include recurring arthritis , nervous system and/or neurological problems. Symptoms can also include numbness and/or paralysis . Deaths from Lyme disease are rare but may occur.
PHAC provides more information on Lyme Disease.
How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
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Question : If Ive Been Treated For Acute Case Of Lyme Can My Symptoms Pop Up Later
Answer: In short, yes. Let me explain:
In an acute case of Lyme disease, heroic therapies like antibiotic treatment are effective at suppressing the harmful microbes for the majority of people and allowing the immune system to do the work of keeping them at bay. However, various studies indicate that antibiotic therapy often isnt sufficient in eliminating the microbes from your system meaning, you could still receive a standard course of treatment and continue to remain symptomatic, which can lead to symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.
On the other hand, you may receive antibiotics and feel well following the treatment. But Borrelia is very good at persisting in the body. Plus, theres no test to accurately determine if the bacteria has been fully eradicated from you. Because Borrelia is stealth, it can remain alive and dormant deep in tissues for the rest of your life without you realizing it is there.
However, if your immune system functions become disrupted for any reason, microbes in tissues flourish, causing inflammation and fueling a vicious cycle of chronic immune dysfunction that can leave you miserable for a lifetime. If your immune system cant keep stealth pathogens like Borrelia in check, it increases your lifetime susceptibility to minor infections like cold and flu, as well as chronic illnesses, including Lyme disease.
How Chronic Lyme Is Treated
Because chronic Lyme disease is still poorly understood in the medical community, there is currently no definitive treatment protocol offered through mainstream medicine. Thankfully, however, many people with chronic Lyme are reporting success in resolving their ongoing symptoms by retraining their brains.
Before we delve into how to support chronic Lyme recovery from a neurological perspective, lets discuss common traditional and alternative treatment options and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
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