Who’s At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found
The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:
- for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
- from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities
Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.
Controversy: Split Over Treatment For Persistent Symptoms
Medical groups continue to disagree about the optimal approach if a patients symptoms persist after the initial antibiotic treatment. A recent Lyme disease overview summarizes the differing guidelines .
- When patients have persistent or recurrent symptoms following recommended antibiotic treatment but no evidence of reinfection, further treatment is not recommended .
- While other potential causes for persistent symptoms should be investigated first, additional antibiotics are recommended if a chronic Lyme infection is believed to be a possible cause for ongoing symptoms and the patient has an impaired quality of life .
Antimicrobials That Kill Growing Phase Spirochetes
- Amoxicillin 500 mg 1 to 2 pills 3 times a day. Alternatively as an alternative to IV antibiotics take 3 to 4 pills 3 times a day.
- Amoxicillin/Clavulanic Acid 875 mg/125 mg 1 pill 2 times a day
- Bicillin LA 2.4 million units IM 3 times a week with one day between each injection
- Ceftriaxone 2 gm IV 2 times a day for 4 days in a row then off for 3 days of each 7 days
- Cefotaxime 2 gm IV every 8 hours
- Cefuroxime 500 mg 1 pill 2 times a day
- Cefdinir 300 mg 1 pill 2 times a day
Additional IV Antibiotics
Vancomycin, imipenem, and ertapenem are possible alternatives if someone is allergic to Ceftriaxone or Cefotaxime.
Intracellular and Extracellular
- Clarithromycin 500 mg 2 pills 2 times a day
- Azithromycin 500 mg 1 time a day or 500 mg IV 1 time a day
- Doxycycline 100 mg 1 or 2 pills 2 times a day or 200 to 400 mg mg IV 1 time a day
- Minocycline 100 mg 1 pill 2 times a day
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For Memory Concentration And Focus
Improving memory is a challenge. In Lyme disease, short-term memory problems and word-retrieval problems are common. These often improve substantially with appropriate antibiotic therapy. Over time, most patients regain their cognitive function.
When memory is a problem, consider that this could due to a primary problem with attention or with mood. An individual who can’t focus won’t be able to remember because he/she didn’t “attend” to the item in the first place. This happens to all of us when we hear someone’s name at a party if we don’t focus on the name and perhaps make a mental association to the name to enhance memory storage, we will forget that name within minutes. Patients with depression often experience problems with memory and verbal fluency when the depression is resolved, the memory and verbal fluency typically resolve as well.
- Medications: Attention can be improved with certain medications, such as bupropion , atomoxetine , modafinil , or stimulants . Medications that temporarily slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease or memantine ) have not been studied in Lyme disease.
- There is some evidence that online brain training programs can enhance concentration or processing speed.
- Neurofeedback may be helpful in improving attention, as well as in improving sleep and reducing pain. This has been studied for migraines, fibromyalgia, and ADHD.
What We Know And Don’t Know About Lyme Disease
- Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Falmouth Hospital, Falmouth, MA, United States
We know the cause of Lyme disease. We know that the bacteria can be found in the initial rash, and occasionally in the blood in the subsequent 23 months, but after then, its subsequent location is unknown. Whereas diagnosis and treatment of early Lyme disease is generally straightforward, the etiology of relapsing or persisting symptoms is yet to be defined, and presents clinical challenges. There are no current tests to determine if the infection is still present or absent, thus complicating diagnosis and treatment. Presented here are approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of persisting Lyme disease, based on available published information, and the experience of the author.
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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
Seven Herbal Medicines Can Kill Lyme Disease Bacteria In Test Tube
Researchers have determined that seven herbal medicines are highly active in test tubes against B. burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, compared to the control antibiotics, doxycycline and cefuroxime.
Published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, the laboratory study was funded by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation and supported in part by The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues at the California Center for Functional Medicine and FOCUS Health Group, Naturopathic collaborated on the study.
Since traditional antibiotic approaches fail to resolve symptoms in up to 25% of patients treated for Lyme disease and many suffer disabling effects of the disease, there is a need for novel treatment proven effective against B. burgdorferi, said the papers co-author Sunjya K. Schweig, MD, CEO and co-director, California Center for Functional Medicine and Scientific Advisory Board Member, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.
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Common Conditions Requiring Medication Treatment For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease requires medication treatment. If you don’t take proper medication, your condition can get much worse. It is important to continue seeing your doctor, even if you are feeling better, until your doctor says you are free of the disease. Be sure to share if you are getting new symptoms or have found your symptoms are not improving.
Tetracycline Plus Macrolide Plus Grapefruit Seed Extract Plus Japanese Knotweed
- doxycycline 100 mg 2 pills 2 times a day
- clarithromycin 500 mg 1 pill 2 times a day
- grapefruit seed extract 250 mg 1 pill 2 times a day.
- Japanese knotweed½ tsp 3 times a day
- Tetracyclines and macrolides both block protein production by binding to the protein production apparatus in germs called ribosomes. But they each bind to a different part of the ribosome improving the blockade of protein production.
- Japanese knotweed is added here to treat persister Lyme. It also may treat growing Lyme and can lower inflammation cytokines.
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How Is Lyme Disease Treated
With early-stage Lyme disease, youâll take antibiotics for about 10 days to 3 weeks. The most common ones are amoxicillin, cefuroxime, and doxycycline. The antibiotics will almost always cure your infection. If they donât, you might get other antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot.
If you donât treat your Lyme infection, you might need oral antibiotics for symptoms like weakened face muscles and irregular heartbeat. You may need antibiotics if you have meningitis, inflammation in your brain and spinal cord, or more severe heart problems.
If your Lyme is late stage, the doctor might give you antibiotics either by mouth or as a shot. If it causes arthritis, youâll get arthritis treatment.
Thereâs no therapy for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
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 bull’s-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.
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Antimicrobials That Kill Growing Phase Cysts
Intracellular and Extracellular
Note: I work with the following agents as anti-cyst agents based on the mechanism by which these antibiotics work and some scientific experiments. For the Rifamycins, there are no laboratory experiments showing these agents work against cysts. Clinically, I see great benefit in using the Rifamycins as my anti-cyst agents – so I list them here.
- Rifampin 300 mg 2 pills 1 time a day or 1 pill 2 times a day
- Rifabutin 150 mg 2 pills 1 time a day
- Tinidazole 500 mg 1 pill 2 or three times a day usually pulsed for four days on then three days off of each 7 days
- Metronidazole 500 mg 1 pill 2 or three times a day usually pulsed for four days on then three days off of each 7 days.
- Grapefruit seed extract 250 mg 1 pill 2 times a day. Note this is an herbal antibiotic that I find as effective as the prescription options in this list.
Can Someone Who’s Been Treated For Lyme Disease Still Have Symptoms
Physicians usually prescribe Lyme patients with a two to four week course of oral antibiotics. This resolves the majority of cases, says Eugene Shapiro, MD, a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Yale University.
However, PTLDS manifests when patient experience persistent symptoms despite undergoing treatment. Because traces of the bacteria rapidly disappear from an individual’s blood, testing for residual post-treatment infection is challenging, says Monica Embers, PhD, director of vector-borne disease research at Tulane University’s National Primate Research Center.
When patients face possible post-treatment complications, tests can’t indicate whether these symptoms are driven by Lyme versus something else entirely. According to Embers, current antibody tests are only about 50% to 60% accurate, but they grow more sensitive four or more weeks after the initial infection as people further develop antibodies.
“What’s desperately needed is a diagnostic test that can be used in chronic patients to demonstrate that they have had Lyme disease or continue to have a persistent infection, and we don’t have that right now,” says Embers.
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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:
Considerations While On Lyme Treatment
Antibiotics can wipe out beneficial intestinal flora, leading to a wide variety of additional health problems. It is important to take probiotics while on antibiotics to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Furthermore, antibiotics may interact with other drugs, supplements or food. The National Institutes of Healths MedLinePlus website gives information about drug interactions.
What Are The Risk Factors For Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Risk factors for Post Treatment Lyme Disease include:
- Delay in diagnosis
- Increased severity of initial illness
- Presence of neurologic symptoms
Increased severity of initial illness, the presence of neurologic symptoms, and initial misdiagnosis increase the risk of Post Treatment Lyme Disease. PTLD is especially common in people that have had neurologic involvement. The rates of Post Treatment Lyme Disease after neurologic involvement may be as high as 20% or even higher. Other risk factors being investigated are genetic predispositions and immunologic variables.
In addition to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, there are several other tick-borne co-infections that may also contribute to more prolonged and complicated illness.
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.
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Natural Remedies For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It is spread through the bite of infected ticks.
Ticks are very small, and their biteswhich can occur anywhere on the bodyare usually painless, so you may not immediately be aware that you have been bitten. In most cases, the tick must be attached to the body for 24 hours before Lyme disease is transmitted.
The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease usually start within three to 30 days after youve been bitten by an infected tick. Many people experience flu-like symptoms after being bitten, while more serious symptoms show up weeks after the bite. Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
If left untreated, symptoms can worsen to include Bells palsy , severe headaches, muscle, joint, and tendon pain, cardiac problems, and neurological disorders.
Most cases of Lyme disease can be managed and treated with two to three weeks of antibiotics. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and how long after the bite you were diagnosed, you may need a longer course of antibiotics to clear up the infection. Many people turn to natural remedies to help treat Lyme disease.
Symptoms Of Post Treatment Lyme Disease
- Include severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, & cognitive problems
- Can significantly impact patients health and quality of life
- Can be debilitating and prolonged
Our research indicates the chronic symptom burden related to PTLD is significant. Although often invisible to others, the negative impact on quality of life and daily functioning is substantial for PTLD sufferers.
The chronic symptom burden related to Lyme disease is considerable, as shown on the left side of the graph above, and statistically significantly greater than the aches and pains of daily living experienced by the control group, on the right.
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Macrolide Plus Grapefruit Seed Extract Plus Cryptolepis
- clarithromycin 500 mg 1 pill 2 times a day
- grapefruit seed extract 250 mg 1 pill 2 times a day.
- cryptolepis 5 ml 3 times a day
- Grapefruit seed extract is better tolerated than both tinidazole and metronidazole and supports killing of Lyme cysts.
- Cryptolepis can treat persister and growing Lyme. If a person also has Babesia, cryptolepis can treat this too.
Who Is At Risk For Lyme Disease
Anyone can get a tick bite. But people who spend lots of time outdoors in wooded, grassy areas are at a higher risk. This includes campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and parks.
Most tick bites happen in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But you can get bitten in the warmer months of early fall, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. And if there is a mild winter, ticks may come out earlier than usual.
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