While the terrible symptoms of Lyme disease are very real, as well as becoming more and more common, “chronic” Lyme disease doesn’t exist, actually. At least not as a diagnosis. We’ll explain this in a bit, but let’s find out more about Lyme disease and why cases of it are sharply on the rise.
Are the Culprits Causing Lyme Disease Living Longer?
The dreaded Lyme Disease is to be feared now for longer periods each year. It is caused by deer tick bites and those pesky devils are becoming more and more hardy, to the point where they can now survive winter. Not good news for those of us who love to hike and spend time out amongst the plants and trees. These beasties thrive in forested areas.
What Is Lyme Disease and How Can You Get It?
Lyme Disease is so named due to the first known cases which occurred in Lyme Connecticut in 1975. It is recognized by a rash, often in a bulls eye pattern, which is not itchy or painful and spreads outward.
You will experience flu-like symptoms, including joint pain and limb weakness.
More severe cases cause intense headaches and if left untreated can affect the heart, nervous system, brain, or spine. The bacteria spreads to the nervous system, causing severe sensory and motor damage, which can cause seizures or severe tremors. It can also cause arthritis.
Three Stages of Lyme Disease.
There are three stages of Lyme Disease:
1. Early localized – occurs within the first month of being bitten, when the bacteria have not yet spread throughout the body.
2. Disseminated – where the bacteria have begun to spread.
3. Late stage – where the bacteria has wreaked havoc.
The Best Ways to Prevent a Tick Bite
- garlic contains natural chemical defenses which enhance the immune system which kills the Lyme bacteria. An added bonus is that it repels the ticks if you have ingested the garlic in its fresh form or with pills or extract, as it creates good microbes on your skin.
- Apply cedar essential oil to your skin before going outside. It is safe and repels ticks. Other essential oils such as thyme, cypress, and juniper will also do the job. Darin Ingels in his book The Lyme Solution shares this recipe: Combine 1/3 cup distilled water, 1/4 cup witch hazel, and 30 drops of one of these oils in a spray bottle. Spray on your lower body as ticks cannot jump but only crawl. Regular insect repellant is also effective but not as health-friendly.
- When outside, avoid walking in high grass and wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat.
- Immediately put your clothing in the dryer for about six minutes on high to kill any ticks when you arrive home.
- Check under your waistband and bra for any ticks who might have come aboard.
- Treat your clothing and footwear with permethrin, which remains active through several launderings.
- If you discover a tick on your body carefully remove it (without crushing it) with tweezers and place it in a sealed plastic bag in order to prevent the toxins from getting out. Wash the affected area and your hands thoroughly with rubbing alcohol.
- Check your pets for ticks as well. Dogs are especially susceptible and can present with lameness, swollen lymph nodes, joint swelling, fatigue, loss of appetite, and serious kidney complications.
- If any swelling or flu symptoms occur call your doctor immediately. Lyme disease is much easier to treat if it is diagnosed early.
Post-Treatment Lyme Disease
This is where it gets sketchy.
After treatment, symptoms which can linger for six months or more and is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease, or Post-Lyme Disease. Neurological complications can include numbness, pain, weakness, facial palsy, visual disturbances, stiff neck, and/or severe headache.
Sadly, post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms sometimes stay hidden and do not appear for months or even years. Post Lyme Disease are said to produce abnormalities in the brain similar to those of Multiple Sclerosis. Luckily most people recover from Lyme Disease quickly after a treatment with the antibiotic Doxycycline for thirty days.
Post-Lyme disease is essentially a euphemized term for chronic Lyme disease, which has become controversial.
Why “Chronic” Lyme Disease Doesn’t Exist
You have likely heard the term, chronic Lyme disease, and maybe you’re even aware of the controversy that surrounds it. The truth is that “chronic” Lyme disease is a vague diagnosis sometimes given by certain doctors (who are not usually infectious disease experts, mind you). These patients will have a handful of nonspecific symptoms, and no objective evidence of having Lyme disease.
This misdiagnosis labelled “chronic Lyme disease” does not exist as an official diagnosis.
Although Lyme disease is a well-characterized infection that is quite easy to treat, the fictitious “chronic” version is very loosely-defined. The false-diagnosis is often responsible for a patient’s actual condition being wrongly or inadequately treated, often causing serious harm.
Is “chronic” Lyme disease a scam? At best it is a misleading term, the use of which should be avoided. But it seems it often is an intentional misdiagnosis to get the victims on very drawn-out and costly pharmaceutical regimens. What else is new!
“Chronic Lyme disease” is often used to explain persistent pain, fatigue, and neurocognitive symptoms in patients without any evidence of previous acute Lyme disease. Once this diagnosis is given, prolonged treatment with multiple antimicrobial agents may follow…” –The New England Journal of Medicine
Natural Remedies for Lyme Disease
- Vitamins B1 and C
- fish oil
- alpha lipoic acid
- cat’s claw
Some natural therapies have also been beneficial to Lyme Disease healing. These include hyperbaric oxygen therapy which is exposure to 100% oxygen at high pressure, ultraviolet light therapy, photon therapy, electromagnetic frequency treatments, and, surprisingly, bee venom. The jury is still out on this last one but it would be worth a try.
The Bottom Line
Take precautions whenever you are outside and near trees and bushy plants, always be aware and check you and your clothing as soon as you get home, and get treatment immediately if you discover the telltale rash.
Although the symptoms experienced by someone diagnosed with Lyme disease can last a very long time, remember that “chronic” Lyme disease does not exist in a textbook sense, and can in fact be a very dangerous misdiagnosis. It is often used to categorize sufferers exhibiting a wide range of illnesses caused by “viruses”, parasites, and bacteria spread by various insects.