Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 1 to 2 weeks 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 it isnt painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans. Erythema migrans is said to be characteristic of Lyme disease. However, many people dont have this symptom.
Some people have a rash thats solid red, while people with dark complexions 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:
Our Approach To Lyme Disease
Research shows that an array of health variables may confound Lyme disease treatment.39 While the conventional medical model largely ignores the role of these variables, the functional medicine model thoroughly understands the importance of these variables in the context of Lyme disease treatment and recovery.
Our approach to Lyme disease stands apart from others because we focus not only on supporting your recovery from Lyme disease but on helping you create a strong foundation for sustainable, long-term health.
Over 70 percent of the human immune system is located in the gut,40 making gut health an essential element of Lyme disease recovery. Gut support is particularly crucial when antibiotics are being utilized as a component of Lyme treatment. We use a variety of gut-focused testing modalities to assess each patients gut health and identify areas for improvement. Strategies for improving gut health may include individualized nutrition and diet interventions, herbal and natural antimicrobial botanicals, probiotics, and prebiotics, and prescription antibiotics when appropriate.
Nutrition for Lyme Recovery
Interested in learning more about the antimicrobial treatment options available for Lyme disease? Check out our article Antimicrobial Treatments for more information on antimicrobial treatment for Lyme disease and coinfections.
Phase Three Later Months To Years
Also called late disseminated infection
Many infectious disease specialists believe that chronic Lyme disease does not exist, and that Lyme disease from a tick bite can be cured with a short course of antibiotics. It is possible that those who have undergone antibiotic treatments are suffering from the side effects of antibiotics, but more and more experts are coming around to the idea that Lyme disease can survive and cause long-term autoimmune symptoms when antibiotics dont work. We all know that antibiotics do not always work and can cause more problems.
- Arthritis symptoms swollen, painful joints
- Neurological symptoms numbness, tingling, shooting pains
- Cognitive symptoms brain fog, short-term memory deficits, confusion
- Mood disturbance depression
- Abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure
Facial paralysis sometimes occurs in this stage or stage two.
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Foods To Help You Recover From Lyme Disease
Lyme disease treatment presents unique nutritional challenges. The disease triggers inflammation that spreads throughout your body. Fortunately, you can nourish your body with foods that help you improve your health and fight inflammation. Thus, you will help your body in its recovery from the ravages of this illness.
Using Your Mind To Help Fight Lyme Disease From Within
Before Lyme, when something didnt go my way, I stressed out. Like most healthy people, I was perfectly functional that way. I rushed my kids off to school, taught Pilates for eight hours, got home in time for dinner, dishes and bedtime even if I was caught up arguing in my own head about something I didnt like. Im sure my husband could have told me when I was anxious or uptight, but I basically didnt even know.
Stress is very human its how we try to control fear. Stressful thoughts live on, however, long after the original feelings have passed, and this affects our health.
A tight body restricts the movement of cellular fluid, blood and lymph making all cellular processes more difficult. Our bodies cant stay in fight or flight and heal at the same time, especially with a project like recovering from Lyme.
Lyme has made it crystal clear to me that I cant approach being sick by using my old patterns of stressing out. In order to heal, I need to consciously let go, relax, and cultivate joy and sensual pleasure, right in the face of what has been the most frightening time of my life.
Both Buddhist mindfulness and a brain retraining program my Lyme doctor suggested have helped me immensely along this path. The result has been a winding road back to wellness, and a spiritual journey I am deeply grateful for.
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What’s The Best Way To Prevent A Tick Bite
Ticks can’t fly or jump. But they live in shrubs and bushes and can grab onto you when you pass by. To avoid getting bitten:
- Wear pants and socks in areas with lots of trees and when you touch fallen leaves.
- Wear a tick repellent on your skin and clothing that has DEET, lemon oil, or eucalyptus.
- For even more protection, use the chemical permethrin on clothing and camping gear.
- Shower within 2 hours after coming inside. Look for ticks on your skin, and wash ticks out of your hair.
- Put your clothing and any exposed gear into a hot dryer to kill whatever pests might be on them.
How do you know if you’ve been bitten?
Since ticks are so small, you’ve got to have pretty good eyes to see them.
If you have a small, red bump on your skin that looks like a mosquito bite, it could be a tick bite. If it goes away in a few days, itâs not a problem. Remember, a tick bite doesnât necessarily mean you have Lyme disease.
If you notice a rash in the shape of a bull’s-eye, you might have a tick bite. Talk to your doctor about treatment.
If you have an allergic reaction to ticks, you’ll notice a bite right away.
Essential Oils For Lyme Disease
Essential oils are concentrated liquids from plants. Some of them have antibacterial properties, meaning they can kill bacteria.
A 2017 study evaluated the use of 34 essential oils to kill B. burgdorferi bacteria in a laboratory setting. Cinnamon bark, clove bud, and oregano essential oils killed the bacteria without any regrowth. <
These results are promising, but theres no evidence that they work in humans with Lyme disease. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy, where the fragrant oils are inhaled through a diffuser or diluted in a carrier oil and applied topically. Its not safe to ingest essential oils, especially in the quantities that you would likely need to treat Lyme disease.
Some people claim that immune system-boosting supplements can naturally treat Lyme disease.
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What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection
There are three stages:
- Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
- Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
- Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.
About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.
Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.
A New Vaccine Candidate
However, in July 2017, the Food and Drug Administration granted fast-track designation to a new Lyme disease vaccine candidate called VLA15. Fast-track designation means that the review of the vaccine will be expedited, with an eye toward earlier availability to the general public. This vaccine was fast-tracked to fight the rapidly growing problem of Lyme disease, which can result in considerable disability and long-term suffering in some.
VLA15 is a multivalent vaccine, which means that it confers protection against more than one strain of Borrelia, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. More specifically, VLA15 targets outer surface protein A , which is the most dominant protein in Borrelia transferred by ticks. Because it targets six different types of OspArepresenting six different strains of Borreliathis vaccine has the potential to protect against Lyme disease spread in the United States, Europe, and worldwide.
In light of the vaccines fast-track designation, Valneva, the company that manufactures VLA15, has stepped up phase II clinical trials. According to a July 2017 press release, phase I clinical trials involve 180 participants from three sites, two in the United States and one in Belgium.
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Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs several weeks to months after the tick bite.
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell, and 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.
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection. You get it when the blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, bites you and stays attached for 36 to 48 hours. If you remove the tick within 48 hours, you probably wonât get infected.
When you do get infected, the bacteria travel through your bloodstream and affect various tissues in your body. If you donât treat Lyme disease early on, it can turn into an inflammatory condition that affects multiple systems, starting with your skin, joints, and nervous system and moving to organs later on.
The chances you might get Lyme disease from a tick bite depend on the kind of tick, where you were when it bit you, and how long the tick was attached to you. Youâre most likely to get Lyme disease if you live in the Northeastern United States. The upper Midwest is also a hot spot. But the disease now affects people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
There’s no sure way to avoid getting Lyme disease. But you can minimize your risk. Be aware of ticks when you’re in high-risk areas. If you work outdoors or spend time gardening, fishing, hunting, or camping, take precautions:
- Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck your pant legs into your shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up your legs.
- Use an insect repellent containing 10% to 30% DEET .
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Keep long hair pulled back or wear a hat for protection.
- Don’t sit on the ground outside.
- Check yourself for ticks regularly both indoors and outdoors. Wash your clothes and hair after leaving tick-infested areas.
If you use an insect repellent containing DEET, follow the directions on the product’s label and don’t overapply it. Place DEET on shirt collars and sleeves and pant cuffs, and only use it directly on exposed areas of skin. Be sure to wash it off when you go back indoors.
No vaccine for Lyme disease is currently on the market in the United States.
When Should I Call The Doctor
If a tick bites you, call your doctor. Other conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s always a good idea to discuss them with your doctor. That way you can get checked and treated, if needed. Call right away if you get a red-ringed rash, lasting flu-like symptoms, joint pain or a swollen joint, or facial paralysis.
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Properly Remove A Tick
Removing an attached tick as soon as you find it is imperative to preventing illness because the longer ticks are attached, the greater their propensity to transmit pathogens. To remove an embedded tick, use a pair of needle-nose tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Twisting or jerking can cause mouthparts to remain embedded in the skin.
There are various tick removing instruments on the market as well, follow the instructions for the specific instrument when removing a tick with it. Once the tick has detached, examine the bite site to ensure the mouthparts were completely removed. Wash your hands with soap and water.
Lavender essential oil has powerful antimicrobial properties and may help kill pathogens. You can apply it every five minutes for the first 30 to 40 minutes after removing the tick.
Conventional Lyme Disease Treatment
Healthcare providers often have difficulty diagnosing Lyme disease because many of its symptoms are similar to those of other infectious or autoimmune illnesses, such as the flu, arthritis or lupus. Several tests are now available for diagnosing Lyme disease. The most popular way of making a diagnoses is using a combination of the Western blot and ELISA tests, which measure specific antibodies in the blood. Some experts, however, feel that this testing has flaws and is not always conclusive.
Another test that may be effective in diagnosing Lyme disease is direct microscopy, which is done by fewer laboratories, including Fry Labs in Arizona. In my opinion, this is the preferred method. Its often performed by holistic health practitioners in combination with other physical exams.
Lyme Disease Prevention Tips:
Prevention and early treatment is very important for managing Lyme disease. Steps you can take to to prevent getting Lyme disease include:
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Potential Treatment For Lyme Disease Kills Bacteria That May Cause Lingering Symptoms Study Finds
Screening thousands of drugs, Stanford scientists determined that in mice, azlocillin, an antibiotic approved by the Food and Drug Administration, eliminated the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Deer ticks are vectors of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.Scott Bauer/USDA Agricultural Research Service
For decades, the routine treatment for Lyme disease has been standard antibiotics, which usually kill off the infection. But for up to 20% of people with the tick-borne illness, the antibiotics dont work, and lingering symptoms of muscle pain, fatigue and cognitive impairment can continue for years sometimes indefinitely.
A new Stanford Medicine study in lab dishes and mice provides evidence that the drug azlocillin completely kills off the disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi at the onset of the illness. The study suggests it could also be effective for treating patients infected with drug-tolerant bacteria that may cause lingering symptoms.
This compound is just amazing, said Jayakumar Rajadas, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory at the Stanford School of Medicine. It clears the infection without a lot of side effects. We are hoping to repurpose it as an oral treatment for Lyme disease. Rajadas is the senior author of the study, which was published online March 2 in Scientific Reports. The lead author is research associate Venkata Raveendra Pothineni, PhD.
Lyme Disease In Dogs And Other Pets
Household pets can get Lyme disease, too. Typical symptoms in animals include swollen joints and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite. Experts in the FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine say that dogs with Lyme disease occasionally develop serious kidney disease that can be fatal.
There are ways you can reduce your pets risk for tick bites and Lyme disease. Regularly checking pets for all types of ticks, for instance, reduces the risk of infection for both pet and owner. Avoid allowing your dog to roam in tick-infested areas.
Topical, oral and/or collar products are also very important in preventing Lyme disease in dogs.
There are two basic types of Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs. Talk to your veterinarian to see if vaccination is appropriate for your dog. There is no vaccination for cats, which do not seem susceptible to Lyme disease.
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Perform Tick Checks After Coming In From The Out Of Doors And Showering
- The risk of getting Lyme disease is greater the longer a tick is attached. Therefore, doing tick checks is important so they can be removed before they transmit Lyme disease.
- Shower daily.
- Common sites of attachment: behind knees, underarm, scalp, navel, groin, buttocks, back.
The most important thing is to get ticks off of you before they attach and have the chance to transmit Lyme disease.
Tick checks are performed two ways:
- Physical Inspections or feeling for ticks, because ticks are very small, and sometimes arent seen. By feeling for ticks, you may discover ticks that are in hidden areas, such as behind your knee or in your armpit, where you wouldnt be able to easily see them.
- Visual inspections should be done as well, looking for the very small pinpoint-sized dark specks that are the nymph stage ticks present at this time of the year.
You may need help from somebody to look on your back for ticks. Parents should inspect their childs entire body daily for ticks.