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What Causes Lyme Disease Flare Ups

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Risk Factors For Post

Debugging a Lyme Flare-Up: Drainage/Detox issue

Youre at a greater risk for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome if youre infected by the bite of a diseased tick. If the infection progresses to the chronic stage, your symptoms might continue for weeks, months, or even years after the initial tick bite.

You may also be at a higher risk for these long-term symptoms if youre not treated with the recommended antibiotics. However, even people who receive antibiotic therapy are at risk. Because the cause of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome is unknown, theres no way to determine whether it will progress to the chronic stage.

Typically, the symptoms of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome resemble those that occur in earlier stages. People with persistent symptoms often experience lingering episodes of:

Stress And Lyme Disease Flare

Whether its emotional or physical stress or mild or severe, stress is not healthy. Stress has been extensively studied and found to be a significant contributor to inflammation in the body. Stress releases chemicals called cytokines, which help repair damaged areas of the body. When released in high amounts, however, they are not beneficial. The more stressed you are, the more cytokines released, the more inflammation in your body.

Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease. Flare-ups are a sign of increased inflammation in your body, which can move to your joints, muscles, nervous system, and brain.

Because stress can be a trigger for a Lyme flare-up, you must implement stress-reduction activities daily. Try meditation, yoga, massage, exercise, gardening, and any other activity you find relaxing.

Treatment For Other Forms Of Lyme Disease

People with other forms of disseminated Lyme disease may require longer courses of antibiotics or intravenous treatment with antibiotics such as ceftriaxone. For more information about treating other forms of Lyme disease, see:

The National Institutes of Health has funded several studies on the treatment of Lyme disease that show most people recover within a few weeks of completing a course of oral antibiotics when treated soon after symptom onset. In a small percentage of cases, symptoms such as fatigue and myalgia can last for more than 6 months. This condition is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome , although it is also sometimes called chronic Lyme disease. For details on research into chronic Lyme disease and long-term treatment trials sponsored by NIH, visit the visit the National Institutes of Health Lyme Disease web siteexternal icon.

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What Do Lyme Disease Flare

The aforementioned symptoms of a Lyme disease flare-up can feel debilitating. The widespread pain, exhaustion, and general feeling of illness can be difficult to cope with, but there are things you can do to help manage the symptoms and reduce flare-ups. Speak with your doctor to explore further treatment and management options for your Lyme disease.

Featured image by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

Treatment For Erythema Migrans

The Difference Between A Lyme Disease Herxheimer Reaction And Flare Up

People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease can help prevent late Lyme disease.

Treatment regimens listed in the following table are for the erythema migrans rash, the most common manifestation of early Lyme disease. These regimens may need to be adjusted depending on a persons age, medical history, underlying health conditions, pregnancy status, or allergies. Consult an infectious disease specialist regarding individual patient treatment decisions.

Treatment regimens for localized Lyme disease.

Age Category
30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses 500 mg per dose

*When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize unnecessary antibiotics that might result in adverse effects, including infectious diarrhea and antimicrobial resistance.

NOTE:For people intolerant of amoxicillin, doxycycline, and cefuroxime, the macrolide azithromycin may be used, although it is less effective. People treated with azithromycin should be closely monitored to ensure that symptoms resolve.

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Failure Of Conventional Treatment Of Lyme Disease

When detected early, it is thought that Lyme disease is easily eradicated using a course of oral antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline. Indeed, most sufferers react quite well to treatment, especially in the early stages, with the symptoms of acute Lyme disease disappearing and patients able to resume their normal life seemingly free of the infection and all its symptoms. However, as mentioned previously, a low level of Borrelia spirochete bacteria often continues to persist undetected in the sufferers body. This is where conventional therapies fail.

Remember, once chronic Lyme disease arrives on your doorstep, you must be prepared for a multi-prone integrated approach for successful long-term recovery. Even the best antibiotics tend to fail unless they are delivered in the proper dose and timing. Otherwise, slow or retarded recovery remains significant clinical challenge.

The key factor determining overall success is how strong the body is intrinsically. No antibiotic can do its job successfully without the assistance of our bodys optimized internal stress control mechanism. This job is ultimately the responsibility of the bodys built in NEM stress response system, which controls the immune system and inflammatory responses of our body through a variety of biological systems and circuits. The adrenal glands also play a major role.

Lyme Symptoms: Nervous System Inflammation

byJennifer Crystalon April 26, 2021

We patients must remember that Lyme is an inflammatory disease. Flare-ups often involve increased inflammation.

Last week I had an incredibly busy schedule: I did research, had several long conversations over Zoom, taught a class, and wrote a lot. The work required a good amount of mental energy, or spoons. I also happened to have a physically busy week, running around doing errands and going to doctors appointments, as well as meeting friends for socially distanced walks.

But what Lyme patients need to do and what we want to do dont always match up.

By Thursday evening, my brain felt as if it was filling with cotton, a pressure I remember well from my acute days with Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and babesiosis. This should have been my cue to stop and rest. What I really needed to do was darken the lights, put on some soft music, and relax. But what Lyme patients need to do and what we want to do dont always match up. In this case, I wanted to relax by watching a favorite show, something Id been looking forward to as a reward all week. And so I watched.

Horowitz, Richard I., MD. How Can I Get Better? An Action Plan for Treating Resistant Lyme & Chronic Disease. New York: St. Martins Press, 2017 .

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What Can Be Done To Prevent Lyme Disease Flare

The first key to living with Chronic Lyme disease is finding a doctor and treatment regimen that works for you. Treatment and methods of prevention through lifestyle are different for every patient. However, there are some general guidelines, which anyone with Chronic Lyme could follow to promote a healthier lifestyle and thus, less flares.

  • Stay hydrated and practice a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.
  • Get enough rest. The body cannot heal itself without real rest.
  • Try to reduce the everyday stressors in your life. Perhaps practicing meditation would be beneficial.
  • Do not overdo it when you are feeling unwell. Pace yourself in your everyday activities. Listen to your body when it feels weakened or tired.
  • Seek dependable emotional support and/or a mental health provider to help you deal when traumatic events arise, or you begin to feel overwhelmed.
  • Lyme disease is a sad fact of the world we live in. Chronic sufferers face a lifetime of health maintenance and treatment. Lyme disease flare-ups can really affect physical and emotional well-being.

    Consider year-round tick control for the prevention of Lyme, and seek immediate medical attention if you believe you have been bitten by an infected tick.

    Lyme Disease And Constipation

    What’s the Difference Between a Herxheimer Reaction and a Flare Up?

    Ah, constipation: That dreaded symptom that nobody wants to experience! Constipation while going through Lyme antibiotic or herbal treatment is a big no-no you need to have regular bowel movements during your Lyme disease treatment to take out the trash generated when pharmaceutical or herbal antibiotics are actively killing Lyme and its co-infections. If youre struggling with constipation during your Lyme treatment, its thus imperative that you get your bowels moving!

    If youre literally feeling stuck in the bowel movement department, here are a few ideas to get things moving:

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    Is There A Vaccine For Lyme Disease In Dogs

    Yes. Your veterinarian may recommend the Lyme vaccine if your dog lives in a high-risk area or is in high-risk situations regularly. Like all vaccines, the Lyme vaccine is not 100 percent effective. Even with vaccination, your dog will still need monthly preventatives, and you should still take other preventative measures, like avoiding areas with ticks and manually checking your dog for ticks.

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    Does Treatment Immediately After A Tick Bite Negate Signs Of Early Infection

    Not every tick carries B. burgdorferi. The infection rate of ticks also varies with geographic region. Therefore, treatment should not be performed based on a tick bite alone. If the tick was found on the animal it can be sent in for B. burgdorferi PCR. PCR for Anaplasma can be performed simultaneously if requested. If the tick was infected, early treatment can be considered. However, a tick must feed for at least 24 hours on an animal or human for B. burgdorferi transmission to occur. Only a serological test will confirm whether transmission of B. burgdorferi occurred and the animal was infected. Antibodies can be detected in infected animals as early as 3-4 weeks after infection. Lyme Multiplex testing is recommended after that time. Treatment can be initiated immediately afterwards if antibody levels are positive. Treatment during this early infection phase is generally very effective.

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    Can Lyme Disease Have Flare

    In short, yes Lyme disease generally comes with flare-ups. One initial flare-up of symptoms can occur at the beginning of treatment and is referred to as a Herxheimer reaction. This reaction occurs when the dying bacteria releases certain toxin-like substances that cause symptoms to reappear.

    Other types of flare-ups can occur long after treatment, and the existing symptoms that a person experiences with Lyme disease may recur or worsen. When flare-ups occur in someone with chronic Lyme disease, its typically because they havent sought treatment for more than a year after an initial infection, or because they had been previously prescribed steroids prior to getting diagnosed with Lyme disease.

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    Can Lyme Disease Be Dormant For Years

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    Lyme disease can remain dormant for weeks, months or even years. When symptoms do eventually develop, they can be severe and patients often need aggressive treatment. Intravenous treatment is often required to treat late-stage infection. Late-stage treatment can last many months as seen in other infections as well.

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    Your Pain Moves Around Your Body

    Another hallmark sign of Lyme is migratory pain â that is, pain that travels from one body part to the other. You might, for example, find that your right knee is hurting one day and your left knee is hurting the next. Common kinds of pain associated with Lyme include joint paint and nerve pains that create shooting or zapping sensations, says Reihman.

    What Causes A Lyme Disease Flare Up

    There isnt one reason or trigger for a Lyme flare-up, but multiple factors contribute to a return of Lyme disease flare-up symptoms. Lyme disease affects each person differently. Some can treat Lyme with antibiotics and not have any flare-ups. Others treat Lyme disease using various methods yet continue to experience flare-ups for years after the initial tick bite.

    Theories exist about the causes of Lyme flare-ups. Some believe the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi triggers the onset of other autoimmune disorders with similar symptoms. Others believe there may be clusters of bacteria that figured out how to survive and reactivate after a period of dormancy.

    Co-infections, viruses, and illnesses cause flare-ups, as well as what you eat and drink. Food high in processed sugars and carbohydrates increases inflammation. Studies show when someone decreases their sugar intake, inflammation markers also decrease.

    The truth is more research is needed to determine the exact cause of a Lyme disease flare-up. However, there may be common risk factors associated with flare-ups, such as stress of any kind.

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    You’re Hypersensitive To Your Environment

    Lyme can put your immune system into overdrive, causing intolerance to unpleasant smells, moldy rooms, and chemicals, says Reihman. This can cause exaggerated side effects or allergic reactions to medications. Some people with Lyme also have unusual food allergies like Alpha-gal syndrome, an allergic reaction to red meat. “A lot of people with Lyme struggle with an immune response that is both robust and ineffective, as if it is targeting the wrong things,” says Reihman.

    Arthritis Caused By Lyme Disease

    Lyme Flare-Up Part II & Common Cold

    There are many causes for arthritis, and your veterinarian will focus on differentiating arthritis initiated by Lyme disease from other inflammatory arthritic disorders, such as trauma and degenerative joint disease.

    Immune-mediated diseases will also be considered as a possible cause of the symptoms. X-rays of the painful joints will allow your doctor to examine the bones for abnormalities.

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    What Triggers A Lyme Disease Flare

    In some cases, a Lyme disease flare-up can be triggered by outside factors. For people with chronic Lyme disease, each trigger will be different because the body reacts differently to the borrelia bacteria.

    Some common triggers for a Lyme disease flare-up can include:

    • Emotional stress driven by grief, an accident, or a big life change such as divorce
    • Physical stress on the body, such as a surgery or physical injury
    • Other types of infections, such as cold or flu
    • General exhaustion
    • Eating a diet high in processed sugars and alcohol
    • For those who menstruate, having a menstrual period could trigger a flare-up
    • Not getting enough good-quality sleep
    • Changes to routine or travelling
    • Treatment changes

    While many of these triggers cannot be avoided, some are preventable and can help you reduce the risk of having a Lyme disease flare-up.

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    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.

    Theyre common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.

    Ticks dont jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something theyre on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.

    Generally, youre 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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    Can You Prevent A Lyme Disease Flare

    The best way to prevent a Lyme disease flare-up is by avoiding contracting Lyme disease in the first place. This can be done by always taking precautions against ticks and checking for ticks after spending time in wooded areas. Since Lyme disease is incredibly difficult to treat, and many people are often unaware that they even have it until it has had time to wreak havoc across the entire body, its especially important to avoid contracting the infection where possible.

    For those who have already contracted and been diagnosed with Lyme disease, getting proper treatment is the best way to deal with, manage, and prevent Lyme flare-ups. Some tips for preventing Lyme disease from flaring up include:

    • Identify your triggers by listening to your body
    • Reduce stress levels by practicing stress management techniques
    • Continue with proper Lyme disease treatment
    • Practice good sleep hygiene so you have the best chance at getting good-quality sleep
    • Avoid the consumption of sugar and alcohol
    • Rest if you dont feel well
    • Find a mental health provider that may help you cope with the symptoms of the disease and prevent any mental changes from worsening

    What Can I Expect Long Term If My Child Has Lyme Disease

    Lyme Disease Flare Up Treatment

    If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, most children will make a full recovery. Some children with Lyme disease go on to experience what’s called a post-infectious syndrome with symptoms that may include feeling fatigue, joint aches and pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating. Since the infection itself is gone by this time, doctors generally don’t prescribe antibiotics. Each child is different, but it’s not uncommon for symptoms of post-infectious syndrome to linger for months, or even years, and they can be made worse by stress or other illness. But most children do make a full recovery.

    Blacklegged, or deer, ticks are very small, so it helps to know what to look for when doing a tick check. Adults are about the size of sesame seeds and in the nymph or larva stage, they can be as tiny as a poppy seeds.

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