What You Need to Know about Lyme Disease
The (chronic) Lyme Labyrinth
Today, Lyme disease is the #1 infectious agent in the US. Two or three weeks of antibiotics is not sufficient for many, and up to 40% experience ongoing symptoms despite early treatment after a tick or spider bite. Late stage Lyme disease and co-infections are often misdiagnosed such as rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, Autism spectrum disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other illnesses. Doctors in medical school are not trained in this arena, and the pharmaceutical industry sees no profit with generic drugs and are not interested in getting involved. Hence the is lack of funding for research (except for profit-driven vaccine manufacturers.)
The Lyme Labyrinth
Many are misdiagnosed with various diseases and idiopathic illnesses, yet they are actually infected with Lyme disease and co-infections. This is why I call it a ‘Lyme Labyrinth.’ Conventional medicine disputes chronic Lyme disease and many patients run from doctor to doctor trying to find out what is really going on, as they remain very sick and in chronic pain. No, it is not ‘in their head.’ In the Lyme-literate community, chronic Lyme is now referred to as PTLDS (post treatment Lyme disease syndrome) and persistent Lyme.
There tends to be more attention on Lyme disease in the spring and summer, however the potential for infection exists all year round. It is important to note that not every tick is infected, but currently roughly 50-60% in the northeast are. Last year over 300 000 individuals were diagnosed with Lyme disease in the United States. It is our responsibility to take appropriate measures to prevent a tick bite I the first place, or when pregnant to be in treatment to avoid transmission to the fetus.
Did You Know That One Tick Bite Could Transmit As Many As 15 Infectious Agents?
Besides Lyme disease, two infections are prevalent in the northeast area: These include babesia, a parasitic infections that is related to malaria (it does not respond to Doxycycline), and ehrlichiosis. However, anaplasma, bartonella, mycoplasma, chlamydia pneumonia and the powassan virus are also co-infections that can occur with a tick bite.
Infections suppress the immune system and that allows for dormant viruses in the body to activate, including, e.g. EBV (Epstein Barre virus) or herpes viruses. With a chronic condition multiple infections and viral activation must be considered. If you were infected with Lyme disease a while ago, did short term antibiotic treatment, and are still sick, do consider the impact of co-infections and viruses.
How Long Does It Take To Become Infected? Myths and Facts!
While doing research for my book Nourish, Thrive, Heal: A comprehensive and holistic guide to living with Lyme disease, I researched the transmission time of infections. It is widely believed that infection only occurs once the tick regurgitates contents from its gut where infectious agents, including Lyme spirochetes, reside. But in my research I found that infectious agents are also present in the saliva glands in the cheeks of the tick. As they embed and start feeding on the host, the tick introduces its saliva into our body. This can be a pathway for infections to occur within a much shorter time frame than originally thought.
The CDC and media display incorrect information that transmission of infection only occurs after 48 hours.
Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/index.html
This myth is being touted in the media during the summer season giving many a false sense of security if they find an attached tick on their body. As a result, individuals delay seeking treatment when symptoms arise, as they think they could not be infected after a few hours or one day. The media also reports this and, frankly, it makes me angry, as it is a giant myth.
At Lyme disease conferences, I also heard of one child being infected within 20 minutes of a tick attachment. It is not appropriate to set a timeline guide for transmission, and thus I believe in prophylactic care with herbal and homeopathic treatment for one month with any tick attachment. In addition I would apply essential oils, e.g. oregano oil or frankincense oil to the site for two weeks.
Why Testing Is Flawed:
- The traditional ELISA and Western Blot test ONLY check for Lyme disease. They do not test for any the co-infections. Both tests are highly flawed and can come back negative despite a Lyme (Borrelia burgdorferi) infection being present.
- If an individual does the Western Blot test shortly after infection, chances are high that it will come back negative. It takes the body a few weeks to make antibodies against a Lyme disease infection.
- Also, if the immune system is already weakened by use of steroids such as an inhaler, or immune-suppression medications, the body also will not be able to mount an appropriate antibody response and the test will come back negative.
- The Western Blot test was never designed as a diagnostic test. It only takes into account strain of Lyme (Borrelia), while there are over 100 hundred different strains. If you were infected in Germany or Hungary, and test in the US, your test will come back negative as we are only checking one strain in the Western Blot test.
Specialized And Specific Testing For Lyme And Co-infections
Specialized, but expensive, testing is available. Labs that engage in specialized testing include DNAConnexions, Igenex, Galaxy Labs (only bartonella), and Armin Labs in Germany. There are other companies developing tests BUT no test is foolproof. One can be infected with multiple infections, despite testing negative. Ultimately, Lyme and co-infections are a clinical diagnosis if labs are negative or inconclusive.
I do not recommend the CDC as your truthful resource on this matter (despite them having made changes to their site recently.) Instead, check into ILADS.org to learn what to do and what to look out for. Go on, have a good time outside, but beware. I do use essential oils for protection including lemongrass or neem oil in a dilution. I do not like chemicals. Yet Permethrin, a chemical spray, sprayed on the hiking boots can be very effective but it is a brain poison. Choose whatever protection resonates with you. As spring is here and outdoors like is beckoning us with gardening, hikes and all sorts of activities in the outdoors (Golf courses too) keep the tick information on hand – and do regular tick checks.
I hope to see you at the RENEWAL SUMMIT, Saturday April 28th. Book your ticket now so you have a seat!
HAVE A HAPPY SPRING!
Author: NOURISH, HEAL, THRIVE: A comprehensive and holistic approach to living with Lyme Disease