Lyme Disease: Where it Comes From, and How to Treat It

Lyme Disease is a borrelian bacterial infection triggerd by a deer tick, mosquito or other flying insect. The first case occurred in Old Lyme, Connecticut during the mid-80’s, but cases of the disease have been reported from across the country.

Ticks are the most common carriers of the disease, however. They are also known to carry Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Bartonellosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.

A tick takes approximately 24 hours to attach itself to the human body, and it takes another 12 to 24 hours for infection to occur. Once the bacteria enters the system, it will travel throughout the bloodstream and secure itself to body tissue.

If an individual notices that a tick has embedded itself into the skin, he or she will need to remove it immediately. This should only be done with the aid of tweezers. Fingernails should not be used to remove the tick. It is additionally important to make sure that the entire tick has been removed. The area of contact should then be thoroughly cleansed with soap and water.

In most cases, a reddish bull’s eye rash will appear on the skin at the site of the tick bite . This type of rash is a definite indicator that Lyme Disease is present. The infected person may otherwise notice the sudden appearance of a reddish rash that resembles nothing in particular, general and/or persistent body aches, headaches, swelling of the lymph glands near the site of the tick bite, or a strong itchy sensation may occur throughout the body.

Another sign to watch for is the development of servere flu-like symptoms. If an individual suddenly becomes ill with a cold or flu that he or she can not seem to completely recover from, then Lyme may be present in the system.

It would be advisable to request a Lyme test from a primary health care physician or local health facility at this point. Delaying the test would not be a good idea, as symptoms will persist and increase as time goes on. To test for Lyme, an individual will need to undergo a simple blood test. Please note that Lyme tests are not standard tests. They must be specifically requested by an individual, and it will take about a week for the results to come back from the lab.

Diagnosing the disease may also present itself as a challenge. The disease can mask itself as anything from a cold to exhaustion to rheumatoid arthritis. It is therefore extremely important for an individual to keep track of all developing symptoms.

If the results of the test come back negative, an individual should continue to monitor his or her own general well-being. This is because the tests are not completely accurate as yet. In other words, a person may have Lyme and test negative.

If the test results are positive, then treatment must begin immediately. Treatment consists of taking a course of antibiotics from anywhere between three to six weeks. Doxycycline and Ketoconazole are two of the most common and effective antibiotcs used for the treatment of Lyme. It may be equally advisable to take multi-vitimins and liver detox pill during the treatment period.

Dietary constraints and restrictions may also be in order. Dr. Mines of the National Integrated Health Associates in Washington, DC recommends that an individual carrying the Lyme Disease needs to stay away from sugar and all types of meat, except for fish. She further recommends that this individual increase his or her own daily intake of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.

Even so, a person who is suffering from either the symptoms or infection should consult a physician or health care professional before implementing a treatment plan, change in diet or daily routine. A thorough examination must occur, and all information regarding the side effects associated with treatment medications must be disclosed to an infected individual.

A prescription will be necessary in order to obtain the antibiotics needed to treat the disease. It may take a few days for the medication to start working, and an individual should continue to monitor his or her own general well-being. Lyme is a fickle disease, and as stated before, it can mask itself as anything and everything. An individual should therefore take special care to notice any change in his or her body or daily routine.

He or she should specifically pay attention to the development and/or continuation of the symptoms associated with Lyme Disease. These symptoms can are and can be broken down as follows.

Musculoskeletal System
-Joint pain or swelling
-Stiffness of joints, back, neck
-Muscle pain or cramps
-Creaking, cracking joints (particularly in the wrists, knees, ankles and feet)
-Heel pain
-Spinal sensitivity
-Movement of pain or swelling to different joints
-Arthritis (particularly rheumatoid arthritis)

Neurologic System
-Headache (persistent and severe)
-Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis)
-Burning or stabbing pains (particularly in the abdomen)
-Tremors or unexplained shaking (particularly at night)
-Numbness in body and/or extremities, tingling, pinpricks (persistent in one side of the body, hands and/or feet)
-Weakness or partial paralysis
-Pressure in the head
-Lightheadedness, wooziness
-Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking
-Increased motion sickness
-Seizures, stroke symptoms
-Restless legs

Mental Capability
-Headache (persistent and severe)
-Memory loss (short or long term)
-Confusion, difficulty in thinking
-Forgetting how to perform simple tasks
-Speech difficulty (slurred or slow)
-Stammering, stuttering speech
-Going to the wrong place

Psychological well-being
-Mood swings, irritability
-Unusual depression
-Panic and/or anxiety attacks
-Overemotional reactions, crying easily
-Aggression, rage
-Too much sleep, insomnia
-Difficulty falling or staying asleep
-Obsessive-compulsive behavior
-Suicidal thoughts
-Paranoia
-Disorientation (getting or feeling lost)

Head, Face, Neck
-Stiff or painful neck
-Headache, mild or severe
-Twitching of facial or other muscles
-Jaw pain or stiffness
-Sore throat (persistant)
-Unexplained hair loss
-Scalp rash

Eyes/Vision
-Floaters
-Double or blurry vision
-Pain in eyes, or swelling around eyes
-Light sensitivity
-Flashing lights
-Tearing and/or dry
-Vision loss/Blindness

Ears/Hearing
-Decreased hearing in one or both ears
-Buzzing or ringing in ears (tinnitus)
-Pain in ears
-Sound sensitivity

Digestive and Excretory System
-Diarrhea
-Constipation
-Irritable bladder (trouble starting, stopping)
-Frequent urination
-Upset stomach, vomiting
-Bloating
-Gastroesophageal reflux

Respiratory/Circulatory System
-Shortness of breath
-Chest pain or rib soreness
-Night sweats (drenching the sheets)
-Unexplained chills
-Heart palpitations or extra beats
-Heart block, heart attack
-Valve prolapse, murmurs
-Heart block, heart attack
-Valve prolapse, murmurs

Reproduction
-Loss of sex drive
-Sexual dysfunction
-Unexplained menstrual pain, irregularity
-Unexplained breast pain, discharge
-Testicular or pelvic pain

General Well-being
-Extreme fatigue (narcaleptic in nature)
-Symptoms change, come and go
-Pain moves to different body parts
-Unexplained weight gain or loss
-Increase or decrease of appetite
-Malaise
-Chills
-All types of rashes on the body and /or scalp
-Swollen glands
-Unexplained fevers (high or low grade)
-Itching (persistent)
-Continual infections (sinus, kidney, yeast, bladder, etc.)
-Increased sensitivity to allergens
-Exaggerated response to alcohol or sweets
-Nodules under the skin
-Early on, experienced a flu-like illness, after which you have not felt well since

These symptoms will come to an infected individual in rounds or phases, and several of them will be experienced at the same time. Progression will occur very rapidly, but antibiotics can reverse the effects of Lyme if the disease is caught early enough.

If the disease is not caught early enough, then any damage to the system may be irreversible. An individual in the late stages of Lyme may lose their liver or kidney functions permanently. This is because the primary goal of disease is to attack and shut down every system in the human body. It is therefore unadvisable to ignore any symptoms associated with Lyme. Doing so would be a fatal mistake.

Lyme Disease may spread throughout the human body of one infected individual, but it can not spread to others through casual contact. It can, however, be transferred from one person to another through sexual contact; this is according to the National Integrated Health Associates in Washington, DC. The amount of body fluid needed to spread the infection is currently unknown, so it’s best that a person carrying the disease refrain from having sex.

An infected person should also engage in at least one follow-up visit with his or her physician upon the completion of the treatment, as the disease may reoccur. An individual should be re-tested if symptoms flair up again. If Lyme has returned, then the individual will need to undergo treatment again.

It is additionally important to note that the symptoms and signs of Lyme may never return again.

In any case, an individual should notify his or her own primary care physician, dentist, optometrist, OB-GYN, etc regarding the presence of Lyme Disease. This is because changes in the body may have occurred, another examination may be necessary, and such happenstances will need to be kept on file.

To reduce the risk of initial exposure to ticks, mosquitoes and other insects, steer clear of wooded areas and wear long sleeves, pants and tall boots. Insect repellants, like Deet, are also good protectorates..

To obtain more information on tick bites and Lyme Disease, contact one of the following organizations.

-U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
Phone: (404) 639-3311 (CDC Operator)
Toll Free: 1-800-311-3435 (public inquiries)
Fax: (404) 332-4564
E-mail: netinfo@cdc.gov
Web Address: www.cdc.gov

-American Lyme Disease Foundation
Mill Pond Offices
293 Route
100 Somers, NY 10589
Phone: (914) 277-6970
Web Address: www.aldf.com

-The Lyme Disease Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Inc.
PO Box 944
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
Phone: 610-388-7333
Web Address: www.LymePA.org

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